Letters for 01-28-2016

Take steps to protect victims of stalking
Though the month where attention
is focused on it is almost passed,
commission of a crime that touches
more than two percent of Americans
annually knows no bounds.
January is National Stalking
Awareness Month, a time to focus on
a crime that affects 7.5 million victims
in one year.
The 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,
the U.S. territories 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 homicide
of women in abusive relationships.
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
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 designed to instill
fear in its target. 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.
Stalkers fit no standard psychological
profile. Many stalkers follow their victims
from one jurisdiction to another, making
it difficult for authorities to investigate
and prosecute their crimes.
Communities that understand
stalking, however, can support victims
and combat the crime.
If more people learn to recognize
stalking we have a better chance to
protect victims and prevent tragedies.
If you or someone you know fears they
are being stalked please do not hesitate
to contact local law enforcement or our
local Domestic Abuse Resistance Team.