Archive for the ‘Be Aware’ Category

The one place that everyone should feel safe is at home.

Sometimes, we forget that when we’re in the safety of our home to keep vigilant and alert, especially when we are coming or going.

Ladies, here are some important safety precautions to remember at home.  However, everyone should be aware of these tips too.

  • Always have your key ready before you get to your front door and pay attention to what’s around you.
  • Keep ALL windows and doors locked at all times when you’re away from your residence no matter what the temperature is outside.
  • Keep your front entrance area well lit, replace light bulbs regularly, and make sure that fixtures are in good working order.  If possible, have motion lights installed in addition to the regular outside lights.
  • If you arrive home and find your front door open: DO NOT GO INSIDE, call the police immediately from your cell phone, neighbor’s house, or pay phone.
  • If you live in an apartment, list only your last name and first initial on your mailbox.
  • Don’t buzz someone in to your building or apartment complex unless you know them.
  • The same goes for holding the door open for someone that you don’t know that has been waiting.  Don’t let anyone into your building or apartment complex that you don’t know.
  • If a stranger needs to use your phone in an emergency, keep them out, and offer to make the call for them.
  • If you ever have ANY doubt or feel threatened in any way, call the police.  Report anything that seems suspicious to the police immediately.

These are just a few important safety precautions to remember when you’re at home, especially when you’re alone.  Everyone should always feel safe and secure inside their own home.

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In my novels Compulsion and Dead Game, Emily Stone relentlessly searches down the bad guys.  You could say that she is stalking them in order to bring them to justice.

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:

1.                  Impulsive

2.                  Obsessive

3.                  Selfish

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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Heroine Emily Stone from my two novels Compulsion and Dead Game has dedicated her life to finding and protecting children.  It’s not always a happy ending, but she won’t give up the search when a child is reporting missing or abducted.  She uses her innate profiling abilities and every piece of technology available to anonymously search out children and their perpetrators. 

In real life, it has been estimated through surveys of households, juvenile residential facilities, and law enforcement agencies that there are approximately 58,200 non-family abductions every year.  This high number is shocking to say the least.  We need to be vigilant to keep our children safe.

The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) has conducted two studies during the years 1997- 1999.  It is difficult to get the exact number due to many variables to missing children cases and reporting status.  

Here are some highlights in NISMART’s report:

Characteristic of Child Abducted

 0-5 years old  7%   (4,300)

6-11 years old  12%  (6,800)

12-14 years old  22%  (13,000)

15-17 years old  59%  (34,100)


Gender of Child Abducted

 Male  35%

Female  65%


Region of Child Abducted

Northwest  1%  (100)

Midwest  33%  (19,300)

South  38%  (21,900)

West  29%  (16,900)


Characteristic of Perpetrator

Friend  17%

Long-Term Acquaintance  21%

Neighbor  5%

Authority Person  6%

Caretaker or Babysitter  4%

Stranger  37%

Slight Acquaintance  8%

Someone Else  3%


Age of Main Perpetrator’s Age

 13-19 years  25%

20-29 years  42%

30-39 years  12%

40-49 years  16%

50-59 years  5%


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To ensure your personal safety, it is considered to be a shared responsibility. It is important to think and act in ways to increase your personal safety, such as on a college campus.

Here are a few things to remember to guard yourself when you move around freely on any college campus during the day or at night.

· Use well-lit areas when walking at night. These areas should be well-traveled and open routes to your destination. Travel these same areas even in the daytime.

· If at all possible, don’t walk alone at night. Find a friend, walk in groups, or have someone meet you at a well-lit area. If you feel uneasy and are alone, contact the campus security for an escort.

· Let a friend or even a professor know if your routine changes for any reason.

· Familiarize yourself with emergency call phones around campus.

· Plan ahead of your routes going to class, library, and events.

· Don’t go to an ATM at night.

· Walk assertively, be alert to everything around you. Dress appropriately for movement, wear low-heeled shoes, and don’t carry too many bags or packages.

· Have your car keys in hand before leaving any building. Get into your vehicle quickly and lock your doors immediately.

· Don’t prop outside doors open that should be locked.

· Carry a whistle or other noise-making device to alert other if there’s a problem.

· Police advise saying “No” to requests for money from strangers and avoid confrontation.

· If you feel threatened for any reason, contact the police or campus security.

· Report ALL suspicious activity to police or campus security.

· Trust your instincts!

Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author & Criminologist

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Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting