What is Stalking?

Stalking generally refers to repeated behavior that is of a threatening or harassing nature. Stalking behavior includes, but is not limited to, repeated phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, vandalizing a person’s property, or appearing at a person’s home or place of employment.

Who is a Stalker?

About 75–80% of stalkers are male.

Most stalkers have an above average “criminal intelligence” (this means that they may not be book smart but they understand the law and how to get around it)

  • Stalkers are often socially withdrawn
  • The average age of a stalker is in the thirties
  • Stalkers are usually unemployed or underemployed
  • Some stalkers may have mood disorders
  • Some stalkers may have personality disorders
  • A commonality of stalkers is that they may have had a loss of primary caretaker within the first five years of life or a loss within six months prior to stalking (e.g. the domestic violence stalker)
  • The average stalking time is approximately 1.5 years, 2.2 years if there was a previous relationship with the stalker.However, stalking can last a lifetime.

Common Reactions of Stalking Victims

  • Denial – “this isn’t really happening”
  • Bargaining – trying to rationalize with the stalker.Keep in mind that stalkers are not rational in their thinking. Agreeing to speak to or meet with the stalker satisfies their need to have contact with you.If you are able, try to cut off all contact with the stalker.
  • Anxiety- concern that the stalker is everywhere
  • Exhaustion/Depression-tired of always looking out for the stalker.Not sure if the stalking will ever end.
  • Self-Blame- “If I hadn’t gotten involved with this person in the first place, this would never have happened.” The only person responsible for the stalker’s behavior is the stalker.
  • Anger
  • Acceptance – this simply means that one accepts that they are being stalked and that it is not your fault!
  • Victims may also experience
  • Loss of sleep.
  • Weight loss.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

If you are being stalked your life changes now.It isn’t fair, but you need to be diligent about your safety and take this stalker very seriously.This is not a joke; this is your life.

Safety Planning

The information to follow is provided as a suggestion of ways to plan for safety.Implementing some or all of the suggestions that follow will not guarantee your safety; however, these may help in reducing your risk of harm from the person stalking you.Do what works for you as you know your situation better than anyone. Remember – if you are going to report this behavior to the police, documentation is key. The more information you have the better able they will be to assist you.

We recommend you compile a stalking log – get a three ring binder that you can put your police reports and other essential items in.You can download a report log from the National Center for Victims of Crime at http://victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/stalking-incident-log_pdf.pdf .Or you can simply use a notebook.Whatever way you choose to record the information, just remember that documentation is very important to help law enforcement help you.

Trust Your Gut!If you think you are being stalked – take the necessary actions to protect yourself.

Home Safety

  • Do not have mail sent to your home and never use your home address for anything! If your stalker already knows where you live, having your mail sent to another location will keep them from taking it.If your stalker doesn’t know where you live – using your home address will lead them to you.Get a post office box or a box at a mail center.If necessary, use Suite # or Apt. # instead of Box #.
  • Register your drivers license to an address other than your home.Change your address with the DMV and get a new license with the new address on it.
  • If you own your home/property, list it is a trust, not your own name.
  • If you rent-speak to your landlord about not providing your information to anyone or have someone else€™s name appear on the rental agreement.
  • Never list your name on a tenant list on the front of your apartment building.
  • Do not list utilities in your name.If you must, talk to your utility company about their privacy policies.Make sure that they mail your bill to your post office or mail box.
  • Do not print your address or phone number or driver’s license number on your personal checks.
  • Never sign a petition. Signature collectors are not employees of a “petition” company and they have not had a background check.Information that is collected on petitions has been used by the signature gatherers for criminal use such as burglary and sexual assault. Some signature gatherers have been known to have criminal backgrounds including registered sex offenders.There is no monitoring of petition gatherers.It is a perfect way for predators to get personal information on potential victims.
  • Positively identify callers before opening doors.Install wide angle viewer in all primary doors.
  • Install dead bolts on all outside doors. If you cannot account for all keys, change door locks.Secure spare keys.Place a dowel in sliding glass doors and all sliding windows.
  • If you can afford to – install solid core doors on all outside access doors.
  • Keep garage doors locked at all times-automatic garage door openers do not mean that when your door is closed it is locked.Install a manual lock on the inside of the garage door.
  • Install adequate outside lighting – consider motion sensor lights.
  • Trim shrubbery.Overgrown bushes provide an easy place for people to hide.
  • Keep your home’s fuse box locked.
  • Have battery lanterns in residence-this will provide light if your electricity goes out or your lines are cut. Keep an extra set of batteries on hand.
  • Install a loud exterior alarm bell that can be manually activated in more than one location-install a home alarm system if you can afford it.If not, consider putting up stickers that imply that you have one.You can get these at most hardware stores.
  • Keep your windows and doors locked in your home and in your car.Use dowels (small pieces of wood can be purchased at a hardware store) in sliding windows.
  • Maintain an unlisted telephone number.If possible, screen all calls, use caller ID and have your number blocked for outgoing calls.
  • If the stalker has your phone number, consider not changing the number but getting a second phone line with a separate number.Keep the old number connected – turn down the ringer and hook an answering machine to it.Save all messages from the stalker.Give your new number to trusted friends and relatives only.
  • Never talk on a cordless phone – they can be monitored through scanners.Scanners can also pick up conversations via baby monitors and hearing aids.
  • Avoid calling 800, 888, 877, and 900 numbers.Your number may be captured by a system called Automatic Number Identification.
  • Keep a log of all phone calls from the stalker and/or third party contact.
  • Do not provide your name or telephone number on your answering machine.If you are female, ask a male friend to leave the outgoing message for you.
  • Do not give out personal information to anyone who calls you.If you need to – obtain the name and company of the person calling and let them know you will call back at a later time.This way you can verify that they are legitimate.
  • Any written or telephone threat should be treated as legitimate, notify the proper authorities.
  • Be alert for any unusual packages, boxes or devices found on premises.
  • Don’t talk to strangers.If someone comes to your door who you do not know, you are under no obligation to speak to them.Do not answer your door. Usually solicitors will leave a business card.
  • Tape emergency numbers on all phones.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan for everyone in your home.Make sure that you practice this plan.
  • Some people may suggest getting a guard dog.Though dogs provide a valuable service as a security agent for our homes, please be advised that a stalker may harm your animals.If you have a dog, make sure that you keep it indoors when you are not home and that you have a secure environment for it when you are home (outside well fenced area).Keep other pets, such as cats, rabbits, Ginny pigs, indoors at all times.Terrible things have happened to family pets at the hands of stalkers.

Safety at Work

  • Arrange for someone to screen your calls.
  • Have a secretary or someone else monitor your mail and any deliveries; do not accept packages unless you personally ordered them.
  • Have a safety plan for leaving work.Make sure you never go to your can alone.Have someone follow you until you feel you are safely in route.
  • If you have an assigned parking place, have your name removed from the site.
  • If you have an onsite security director, make them aware of the situation and provide them with the stalker’s information.

Computer/Internet Safety

If you are being stalked it is possible that it is by someone you know, an ex-partner, former spouse, co-worker, or friend.They may know a lot about you including banking information, social security number, and credit card information. Password protect all of your accounts and check your credit reports at least one time per year.

Equifax Credit Bureau
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta GA 30374-0241
(800) 685-1111
(770) 612-3200
equifax.com credit report

P.O. Box 9701
Allen TX 75013
(888) 397-3742
experian.com credit report

Trans Union
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester PA 19022
(800) 888-4213
transunion.com credit report

It is important to remember that each stalking case is different from another. If you are a victim of stalking, you know your situation best. Work with your local law enforcement to assist you in safety planning and stay aware of your surrounding at all time.

Other resources that may be of assistance are:

The National Stalking Resource Center: http://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center

The Stalking Victims Sanctuary: http://www.stalkingvictims.com

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