January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year. This year’s theme—“Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”—challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.*
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal
justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.
Google “track girlfriend” and see how many sites tell someone how to stalk. Scary, isn’t it. Stalkers often access information about victims that is available online. Do you know what information about you is online?
Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization. Rates of stalking among college students exceed the prevalence rates found in the general population.
Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear.
Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities.
There is no standard psychological profile for a stalker, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes.
Stalkers often re-offend; recidivism rates are as high as 60%. Stalkers rarely go away and their behavior may escalate over time. Only 37% of male stalking victims and 41% of female victims report stalking to the police.
Victims are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including emails, text & phone messages. It’s important that they share their stories with others, contact police and be persistent in notifying authorities on their school campus and work places.
Communities that understand stalking can support victims and combat the crime.
For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit
this site. For additional help go here.
If you or someone you know needs a stalking safety plan check this out and go to this site to view stalking laws in your state.
Stalking is not a joke. It’s not romantic. It’s not okay. It’s a crime.
*Information gathered from this website.