For immediate release: October 23, 2015
Warning about the Dangers of Meeting Strangers Online
The Independence Police Department wants to again warn the public about the dangers of meeting strangers online. We put out a warning on social media last month but we continue to see these incidents occur.
In the last six months, these types of encounters have been fairly specific. They involve men attempting to meet women or other men for a paid sexual encounter. The victims have used various websites and apps to meet these people including: Craigslist, Skout, Tinder, Match, Plenty of fish (POF), Backpage, Adam4adam, and Grindr.
During the last six months, we have observed a pattern of approximately 15 reports of robberies resulting from these types of encounters. Other law enforcement agencies in the surrounding area have told us they have seen them as well. Instead of a romantic encounter with one person, the victims are often met by several men and then robbed and assaulted. In Independence, two clusters of locations have emerged. One is the area of I-70 and Noland and the other is the area of 24 Hwy and 291 Hwy.
Because of the type of encounter, almost all of these victims become uncooperative with police after the initial police report is made. This is because these encounters are probably affairs and they do not want their significant others to be aware of them. It is probable that there are many unreported crimes, due to their nature.
We want the public to be aware of these incidents and we hope that this information will reach the men who might think meeting a stranger online for a paid romantic encounter is a safe endeavor.