LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro Police are seeking additional victims after a woman was sexually assaulted at gunpoint earlier this month. Police say Jorge Perez, 32, met the victim on an online platform.
8 News Now breaks down some key safety steps for online dating during the pandemic.
“COVID has definitely taken these safety concerns to the next level,” said Daniele Staple, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center.
Due to the pandemic, some online dating safety precautions, such as meeting in a public setting or in groups, could be a risk. If someone is considering meeting a date in-person, Staple says to use as many internet resources as possible.
“If they tell you they work at a particular company, check that company’s website and see if they’re listed as a staff person,” Staple suggested. “Maybe follow them on social media and get a sense of what their accounts look like and how they present themselves and what their friends seem to be saying and things like that.”
While there is no way to fully know how a date will play out, Staple says there are some boundaries that can be set ahead of time, including transportation. She suggests individuals drive themselves or arrange transportation on their own, that way they can leave if their date is making them uncomfortable.
“Always making sure someone knows where you’re going, giving a rough idea of when you might be back or heading home,” Staple said. “With a lot of ride shares, you can can ride with individuals, so if something seems to be going astray, they might have a heads up.”
While the world continues to navigate the restrictions of the pandemic, Staple says it’s perfectly okay to skip out on dating right now:
“I really encourage friends and family of those individuals to be supportive of those decisions. We have to give folks a lot of grace right now.”
Staple adds that many service staff and Strip workers are trained to help people in these situations. If you are at a local bar or restaurant and feel uncomfortable, let one of the workers known.
Along with the case involving Jorge Perez, police are investigating three other sexual assault incidents. In some cases, the victims were prostitutes in the area, while others were in an area where prostitution occurs.