New VPD ‘catchyou’ campaign helps online daters stay safe

With online dating becoming the standard for meeting new people, the Vancouver Police Department has released a website to help users establish safer dating practices.

Chief Adam Palmer expressed concerns on Thursday at a Vancouver police board meeting about the increase in sexual assaults with online dating. The VPD’s website for people who use online dating sites – catchyou.ca – includes tips and testimonials for safer dating. The Voice is investigating whether women who have been victimized in the online dating realm are coming forward because of the VPD’s new online dating initiative.  

“I’m not in any way slamming online dating because some people have had great success with it,” Chief Adam Palmer told reporters after the meeting. “But there are a small number of predators…we need to be aware that it can be a dangerous process because you are really dealing with a stranger.”

Some people are being victims of robbery with online dating as well.

“The predators, who will date multiple women at the same time, clean out their bank accounts,” Palmer said. “These predators are doing all sorts of nefarious things.”

As to whether more victims have come forward since the release of catchyou.ca, Chief Palmer could not speak to any specific statistics. The Voice continues to investigate this aspect of the VPD’s initiative. 

doucette

As to whether more victims have come forward since the release of catchyou.ca, Jason Doucette, media relations officer for the VPD, said “the overall rates for all types of sexual assaults appear to have actually dropped slightly from September to October 26, 2017. However, if we isolate reported gropings, we have seen an increase in reports in October over September.”

It can’t be easy to attribute statistics to the catchyou campaign and Doucette concluded in an email that “if the campaign helps deter or prevent one additional assault, then it’s a success… the issue / problem is with the offenders, not with those being assaulted.”

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