Alaska most dangerous state for online dating, report says
Alaska is the most dangerous state in the nation in which to date people online, according to a ranking released Thursday.
A SafeWise.com overview of the nation’s five most dangerous online-dating states – compiling risks of rape, fraud and sexually transmitted diseases – put Alaska at the top of the list followed by New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada and Arkansas. The group’s 2017 report had listed Alaska second behind Washington, D.C.
The 2018 report was compiled using states’ cybercrime and violent crime data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports for 2016, as well as their chlamydia and gonorrhea infection rates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alaska’s FBI data for 2016, which led to an online report calling Alaska the nation's most dangerous state last month, shows a rise of more than 16 percent in rape cases that year-- which included 960 rapes and 89 attempted rapes. Although Alaska’s data didn’t include specific categories for rapes resulting from online dating, a VICE News report from 2016 said the United Kingdom reported a 450 percent rise in reported rapes linked to online dating over the previous five years.
According to SafeWise, Alaska has the nation’s second-highest rate behind Nevada of “romance scams,” during which criminals cajole money from people during quickly formed relationships-- including those online. Alaska’s 2016 cybercrime data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center lists a total of 50 reported victims from romance and confidence scams; the total losses from those crimes, $894,062, work out to an average loss of $17,881 per victim.
State health officials said this week that Alaska continues to suffer a wave of gonorrhea cases amid high STD rates nationwide in recent years. Alaska also suffers the nation’s highest infection rate of chlamydia infections, with nearly 5,700 reported in 2016 – almost 80 percent of them among people under 30.
Susan Jones, with the state Department of Health and Social Services, said in October that one factor in Alaska’s higher gonorrhea rates was an apparent rise in high-risk sexual activities. Those activities, she said, included “finding your partners through sex-seeking websites or apps and not knowing the STD status of that individual.”
The report’s five safest states for online dating were Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and Utah.
Any instance of dating violence should be reported to law enforcement by calling 911, and the FBI urges anyone who has lost money in a romance scam to contact its complaint center. STDs like gonorrhea often require multiple treatments but are curable, and the state asks anyone who’s infected to contact medical providers.
If you’ve experienced a dangerous online date in Alaska and would like to share your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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