As a private investigator I am asked to do some very odd things. Sometimes paranoid people have a tendency to exaggerate their situation because they want attention on the other hand there are some real life situations where my clients have been stalked. Before I get into all the things to watch out for let me explain what “stalking” is: When someone is following you physically or harassing you for an extended period of time.
In each state there are varied jurisdictions of what this act could and should include but for the sake of this article we will touch on the general term and actions that would fall into the “stalking” category.
• Following someone repeatedly
• Contact made by phone letters or any other means of communication that is unwanted.
• Closely watching, observing someone for sometime.
• Any family contact, or friends, and work associates, etc.
• Cyberstalking seems to be the latest with the Internet.
People can get any personal information from their computer and search on the Internet in order to gather personal details without their consent. Information from work place, school, home, cell numbers in order to use against the person being stalked.
In 2000 federal Department of Justice preformed a study that one woman in 12 will be stalked during her lifetime. This figure is startling when compared to the current FBI Statistics that 1 in 3,000 will be raped. The sad truth is many of these women are familiar with their stalkers. Stalking is gender neutral but the vast majority of stalkers are male. Many are also in denial that this person would ever do anything to put them in harms way. Some don’t even believe it until the investigator shows them proof, whether in a video or information that will shed light on their situation. In order to better understand if you are a victim of stalking I have included 5 tips to watch out for.
1. Loitering around your neighborhood or business – Do you see the same guy around your home or workplace? Someone that doesn’t belong there. Maybe they park next to you or you are constantly seeing them at a store, you see them at the gym or you happen to bump into them at a parking lot. Look there may very well be a coincidence, but there is no reason for you to see the same person at all the different places you frequent.
2. Someone watching you – This is different than a “lurker”. The watcher will keep an eye on you from a distance. They will gather personal information from people who are close to you. I have seen people actually hire a private investigator to do the nasty deed for them. They will get private details from you. As far as women go they also have a sixth sense when it comes to someone watching from distance. It’s a sickening feeling; if you are a woman you know what I am talking about. You cannot put your finger on it, but you just feel it.
3. Repeated telephone calls. Calls that come not from someone you are seeing that’s just checking in on you, but from someone you know casually. Why are they constantly calling you? Odd behavior. The scary ones, are when they just hang up, or are silent on the other end. Threatening to call the police may be a good tactic, but more often than not if they are psycho then it may instigate a situation you are not ready to handle.
4. Manipulation. The stalker is looking for some way to interact with you. They may have contact by using legal measure like frivolous lawsuits. Some could be on the range of ridiculous. Some may even threaten suicide if you don’t return their affection. If you are being manipulated with this sort of behavior call the police.
5. Cyberstalking – These are the ones that send you several emails a day, or private messages when you are at work. Some will even send you links to inappropriate website. Some may only know the victim from their online profile. The good news is most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime unit that are prepared to deal with those types of stalkers. I am sure you have seen one or two shows on TV where this has become apparent in today’s society. I am not saying don’t participate in online social networking but please make sure all your personal information is protected.
Pervasive Stalking is often subtle in fact; the stalker is almost betting that his actions are merely demonstrations of affection. If you are experiencing or are put into any of the above aforementioned situations the best thing to do is contact your local police immediately. Keep a record a daily journal of the different situations. Dates, times, and places you have seen this person this will give you more credibility when you are talking to law enforcement.