By Julia Deng
MIDLAND - You might find your one true love swiping through Tinder - a matchmaking mobile app that launched in 2012 and now has more than 50 million users - or you might find prostitutes.
According to Texas law enforcement agencies, recent spikes in sex crimes could be the result of dating apps, which give sex workers a new place to discreetly advertise their services.
Tinder users within a 20-mile radius of Odessa reportedly came across one prostitute soliciting sex through the app for "every 40 or 50 profiles" they swiped past.
"I actually went on a date with a girl who was a prostitute," a 28-year-old male user revealed. "I had no idea until I got there."
West Texas sex workers are also making the most of their "tech-savvy ways" on other apps and sites, according to Odessa Police spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur.
"Craigslist, Backpages [and] other ones," he said. "But we are definitely aware of them and they are being investigated. The population here is growing like crazy and there's a lot of money here, which attracts [prostitutes]."
Due to ongoing investigations, LeSueur was unable to go into detail about which apps were being monitored and how police tracked "suspicious" users.
"All I can tell you is that there are lots of resources available and different methods they use to track these types of vendors," he said. "They do get online and monitor these types of crimes."