Online dating safety and where your city ranks
Online dating has skyrocketed in the past decade and today over 40% of Americans are using online dating, according to eHarmony who has over 15 million users.
Even with the growing acceptance of meeting your potential soulmate online, online dating can be risky, and sometimes even deadly. According to Fox News, dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony even have a special clause in their user agreements stating that the company is not liable if your date should end in death.
SafeWise.com and HighSpeedInternet.com compiled a year’s worth of data to determine how “safe” online dating is in 56 major U.S. cities. In order to determine a city’s safety score, they analyzed the correlation between STD rates and the FBI violent and cyber crimes data per capita. The scores range between 0 and 10, with 10 being the safest and 0 being the most dangerous city. You can see the full report here.
So how does your city stack up? Let’s take a closer look.
Most Dangerous Cities
The most dangerous cities for online dating are ranked by the highest STD rates and crime rates amongst other cities. Here are the top 10 worst cities for online dating:
- Buffalo, NY: 0.8
- Riverside, CA: 1.6
- Knoxville, TN: 1.8
- Orlando, FL: 2.8
- Detroit, MI: 3.9
- Cincinnati, OH: 4.1
- Minneapolis, MN: 4.6
- Birmingham, AL: 4.7
- Richmond, VA: 5.2
- Las Vegas, NV: 5.5
Now let’s take a look at what Safe.com and HighSpeedInternet.com consider the safest in America to get your online dating on:
- San Antonio, TX: 9.4
- New York City, NY: 9.2
- Portland, OR: 9
- San Jose, CA: 8.9
- Oklahoma City, OK: 8.7
- St. Paul, MN: 8.4
- Denver, CO: 8.3
- Chattanooga, TN: 8.25
- Atlanta, GA: 8.2
- San Diego, CA: 8.12
How to Protect Yourself
No matter which U.S. city you live in, you should always take extra precautions when online dating. Match.com, one of the leading online dating sites has their own list of safety tips for their users. Here’s a few more to take into consideration:
Get to know the person well before you meet them offline
In fact, Director of Cyber Intelligence & Investigations, Bruce Anderson says, ”you should always do a background check on the person that you are dating.” It’s important for cyber-daters to really know who they’re getting involved with before putting themselves in danger.
Let someone know where you’re at in case of emergency
Tell a friend or family member what your plans are for the night and make sure you have one another’s number so you are both reachable if needed.
Meet in a public space
Michael Kaiser, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, told Fox News that “the classic advice is to meet someone first in a public place,” find your own mode of transportation to and from the date, and not to feel pressured to go anywhere else other than the agreed date location.
If all else fails, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel quite right or you think the date is going south, it probably is. Of course online dating isn’t always scary, it can definitely be fun and rewarding, but taking those extra steps to protect yourself is necessary. And no matter where you live in the U.S., always practice safe online dating!