Defense Against Crime

05/01/2012

Are your being stalked?

What is Stalking?

Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or group to another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person and/or monitoring them via the cyverspace. The word stalking is used, with some differing meanings, in psychology and psychiatry and also in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense.

The most common types of stalking behavior reported by victims were:

  • Receiving unwelcomed phone calls from the offender (66 percent)
  • Receiving unsolicited personal letters or email (31 percent)
  • Having rumors spread about them (36 percent)

Nearly a third of victims reported that offenders were equally likely to show up at places with no reason to be there or wait for the victim at a particular location.

New Technology Used for Easy Stalking

The latest technological advances has become a quick and easy way for stalkers to monitor and harass their victims.

Cyberstalking is the use of computers or other electronic technology to facilitate stalking. This easy to obtain technology has spawned a supply Hi-tech equipment such as computer hacking software and gadgets, or monitoring software, hidden spy cameras, microphones, and GPS tracking units. While these devices have legal uses such as nanny cams, and surveillance equipment to catch criminal acts, criminals will use them for other means.

  • More than one in four stalking victims reported that some form of cyber-stalking was used, such as email (83 percent) or instant messaging (35 percent).
  • Electronic monitoring of some kind was used to stalk one in 13 victims.
  • Video or digital cameras were equally likely as listening devices or bugs to be used to track victims.

By the Numbers

  • 3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States.
  • 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
  • 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 10% of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.
  • Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking.
  • 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.
  • 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
  • 1 in 4 victims report being stalked through the use of some form of technology (such as e-mail or instant messaging).
  • 10% of victims report being monitored with global positioning systems (GPS), and 8% report being monitored through video or digital cameras, or listening devices.

SOURCE:[Katrina Baum et al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC:BJS, 2009).]

SEE ALSO

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