But what does stalking really mean?
The definition of stalking is the act of following prey stealthily.
Stalking is caused by a chronic obsessive personality. Anyone can become a victim or a stalker. It has been estimated that one out of every twelve women will be a victim of a stalker at some point in their lives.
What happens when someone is stalking another person? There are stalking laws in place for this type of unwanted attention.
The California Stalking Law Penal Code Section 646.9 is one of the strongest stalking laws in the country. No Longer should victims of stalking be turned away by law enforcement and told, “come back when he actually hurts you.” From 1991 through 1993, stalking was a misdemeanor punishable by only one year in county jail when no restraining order was in place. Under the current law, a first-time stalker can be sentenced to a felony charge and sentenced to State Prison for up to three years. If a court or restraining order is in effect, the stalker can be sentenced up to four years in prison or if he has previously been convicted of felony stalking or other related crimes, he could face up to five years in prison.
I’ve had first hand experience of being stalked by someone and it was a life altering experience for me. I lived next door to a violent sociopath for 2 ½ years that threatened my life weekly, sometimes daily. The good news is that I turned that unfortunate situation into a positive one by using my experience, or inspiration for lack of a better description, in my fictional writing and that’s how Compulsion came to life. The bad news was that I had to move and this person continued to stalk me at work and even found my new residence. Everything finally worked out. I’m safe now and this person went to jail for a crime of aggravated assault on someone he knew, but unfortunately he’s out free again.
I wanted to share some stalker warning signs.
Stalkers usually have two or more of these personality traits:
4. Won’t take “NO” for an answer.
5. Has few friends.
6. Low self-esteem.
In my situation, this person was also highly intelligent, clever, had violent tendencies, had one or two so-called friends that would follow his orders, and he felt that everyone had “wronged” him in some way.
The best approach to stop a stalker is to nip it in the bud, but this isn’t always the simplest approach.
What you can do to STOP the stalker:
1. NEVER let the stalker know that he’s having any effect on you. I know this doesn’t sound easy, but it’s important.
2. Make sure you have a Caller ID on your phone.
3. If you’re being harassed by phone, make sure that it’s connected to a recorder to gather evidence. Get a second line (unlisted) for your trusted friends or use a cell phone.
4. Have friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers help to shield you.
5. Get a camera cell phone (most cell phones have this feature now) and document everything and every encounter with this person.
6. Change your schedule to make it more difficult to follow you.
7. Drive around the block a couple of times before returning home. If you are being followed or threatened drive straight to a police station. Never confront this person alone.
8. Plan an escape route in case your stalker enters your home, follows you on foot, or follows you in the car. It’s important to plan out what you would do in an escape and don’t let anxiety and fear cloud your judgment.
9. Find out all your options with restraining orders. Talk to your local police department and file a report. Law enforcement is there to help us. From my own personal experience, the police were helpful and supportive of my situation.
10. Contact an attorney or your local police department for more information.
Be safe and alert at ALL times. Don’t feel like you have to suffer through this alone. Tell friends, family, and law enforcement.
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Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting