FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Jan­u­ary 7, 2011

 

Jan­u­ary Is Nation­al Stalk­ing Aware­ness Month

 

Union Coun­ty State’s Attor­ney Tyler R. Edmonds is alert­ing the pub­lic that Jan­u­ary is Nation­al Stalk­ing Aware­ness Month – a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 mil­lion vic­tims a year.  This year’s 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 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 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 vic­tim­iza­tion.

 

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 that would cause that per­son fear.  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, and many stalk­ers fol­low their vic­tims from one juris­dic­tion to anoth­er, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for author­i­ties to inves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute their crimes.  Com­mu­ni­ties that under­stand and rec­og­nize stalk­ing, how­ev­er, can sup­port vic­tims and com­bat the crime.

 

The Union Coun­ty State’s Attorney’s Office encour­ages com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to report inci­dents of stalk­ing and pro­mote aware­ness and pub­lic edu­ca­tion about stalk­ing dur­ing the annu­al obser­vance.

 

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact the State’s Attorney’s Office at 618–833-7216.  Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion is also avail­able at www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org and www.ovw.usdoj.gov.