To provide feedback on the Community Policing Dispatch, e-mail the editorial board at CPDispatch@usdoj.gov.
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
Over 7 million people a year are victims of stalking and these victims range in age from high school students and young adults to senior citizens. In the US, approximately 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have been a victim of stalking during their lifetimes.1 January is National Stalking Awareness month and a number of national and local events are scheduled across the country to highlight resources and encourage victims to get help.
“Stalking [is] a course of conduct [over time] directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate [to assault and homicide].”2
The crime of stalking can include following victims, repetitive unwanted contact, sending unwanted gifts, property damage, and active threats to hurt either the victims or their family members. Technology is now being used in most stalking cases and can include tracking the victim with hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), use of public records and online search services to follow victims, posting negative information online, and doxing.
“There is often an intersection between stalking and other crimes…property crimes, sexual assault crimes, domestic violence crimes,” states Detective Deirdri Fishel, State College Police Department.3
Up to 95 percent of stalking victims know the offender and 67 percent of stalking victims are also the victim of domestic abuse from their intimate partner. In addition, about 20 percent of stalkers use a weapon to harm the victim. Law enforcement and community partner outreach to end stalking will increase community safety and officer safety, since 20 percent of officer deaths in 2016 resulted from a response to disturbance calls, and the majority of those were domestic violence service calls.4
Many resources are available to agencies interested in implementing or expanding community outreach:
There are a number of publications and multimedia resources to learn more about the crime of stalking:
1 Matthew J. Breiding et al., “Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization – National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 63, No. 8 (2014): 7
4 FBI 2016 Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted report. https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2016
To sign up for monthly updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your email address in the Subscribe box.