Police departments should be prepared to handle stalking victimization. Sadly, most are not prepared, particularly when technology is involved.
Personally, I don’t get it. This is not a “new” crime at all; just a more effective delivery method. The problem seems to lie with the established thought that private matters are not police matters. There is another school of thought that women are over-reacting to “normal” relationship problems.
However, anyone who has been properly trained should know that stalking goes well-beyond simple jilted lover spats. It involves a pattern of threatening behavior by a previous intimate partner, a peer or a stranger. It involves good record-keeping, investigation and follow-up. When stalking cases are handled properly, lives are saved.
Did you know that 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States? Statistics show that 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime (Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). This January marks the 10th anniversary of National Stalking Awareness Month, a resolution that was set into motion after Peggy Klinke was murdered by her stalker in California in 2003. Law enforcement agencies can use this month to highlight resources available to stalking victims, become more familiar with their state’s stalking laws, and ensure that stalking offenders are being held accountable in their communities.
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