This article was previously published on January 23, 2018 and updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
Studies indicate that 13.5 million people experience stalking in the United States each year. Stalking is abnormal behavior, and you should never ignore it. But what are the signs of stalking and what can you do to protect yourself? Find out more with ADS Security.
What are the Signs of Stalking?
Stalking is the unwanted following of a person by another that would cause the other person fear or distress. Stalking victimization rates are highest among divorced or separated individuals. However, it can happen to both men and women of any age. It is usually someone the victim may know; an ex-spouse, ex-boy/girlfriend, former friend, co-worker, or even someone you just recently met at a bar or even the grocery store.
There are some common stalking tactics you should know how to identify. These include:
- Showing up in places where the victim does not want them to be (their work, home, gym, etc.)
- Sending unwanted phone calls, texts or e-mails
- Watching or following the victim from a distance
- Spying on the victim using a listening device, camera or GPS tracker
If you ever feel like someone is stalking you, pay attention to situations that make you feel fearful or uneasy and carefully check your surroundings. When in doubt, trust your gut and get to safety. Asking someone you trust to accompany you can help alleviate the situation.
How to Deal with a Stalker
Don’t ignore the warning signs. The best thing you can do is address the problem before it gets worse. Speak up to a family member, friend, co-worker, gym-buddy, etc. They can give advice and help you with the situation. For example, if ever feal vulnerable at the gym, bring a gym-friend to feel safer or notify management that you feel uncomfortable.
Stalkers often feel a connection with their victims. You never want to validate their perception by replying to text messages, phone calls, etc. However, if you ever feel like you are in danger or they come to your property without permission, contact the police immediately. When talking to the police, you should:
- Insist your police department send out an officer so you can file a formal complaint/report, in the officers present; this first course of action is paramount. A police report must be filed to continue further police investigation.
- If the stalker is someone you know or an acquaintance, you should move forward with police investigators to prosecute the perpetrator. Stalking is a crime in all 50 states.
- If you’re being stalked while driving, calmly drive to the nearest police station or use your cellphone to contact authorities.
Perpetrators who go un-prosecuted generally continue to stalk and escalate their methods. This increases the risk of harm or death to the victim. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get help. And if you notice this type of victimization with someone you know, make sure you talk to them about it.
How to Protect Yourself from a Stalker
One of the most common areas a stalker targets is their victim’s home or residency. With a home security system, you never have to feel unsafe in your own home. Install security cameras to give yourself a bird’s eye view of your property and its surrounding. Motion sensors are also effective at deterring criminal behavior and can immediately alert you when it detects movement on your property.
At ADS Security, our main goal is to help people and businesses find the right security solutions for their needs. Everybody has the right to feel safe in their home, and we’re here to make sure that happens. If you would like to learn more about our security solutions and product offering feel free to contact us today.