Stalking is a frightening and invasive behavior that can cause significant distress and fear for the victim. Unfortunately, many people experience stalking at some point in their lives, and it can be difficult to know how to respond.
Catching a stalker can be a challenging task, as they often go to great lengths to conceal their identity and their actions. However, with the right strategies and resources, it is possible to identify and apprehend a stalker.
If you are being stalked, you should put together a safety plan and protect yourself. This post explains more about the different options you have.
What Is Stalking?
Stalking is a behavior where someone repeatedly follows, contacts, or monitors another person without their consent or in a way that causes them fear or distress. This can include unwanted phone calls, texts, emails, messages on social media, showing up at their workplace or home, and other forms of surveillance or harassment.
Stalking is often a criminal offense and can have serious consequences for both the stalkers and the victims of stalkers. It is a violation of personal boundaries and can cause significant emotional and psychological harm to the victim.
In other words, a stalker is someone who spies on you or follows you. However, unwanted attention, cell phone calls, messages, and gifts can also be categorized as stalking behaviors.
Online stalking is another form of stalking, but this type of stalker is more manageable. Users can update their privacy settings to avoid such behavior. Nevertheless, online stalking can turn into physical stalking, which is more dangerous.
Types of Stalkers
The unwanted pursuit comes in different types, depending on the severity and relationship with the stalker. Assessing the level of danger is crucial in dealing with this situation. To do so, you need to understand the different types of stalkers.
- A simple stalker is someone you know. They might have been a friend or an intimate partner in the past, and they can’t get over the fact the relationship is over.
- A private stranger stalker is someone who frequently crosses paths with you. They have a romantic obsession with you, even if you aren’t interested.
- An acquaintance stalker is someone you know, such as a classmate or a coworker. This case has a 50% chance of becoming violent, so it is better to approach it cautiously.
- An abuser in an abusive relationship can turn into a stalker. This is the most dangerous type of stalking because it may lead to violent assaults.
A person with a romantic obsession over you, who goes overboard with messages or drives by your house doesn’t have to be a threat. However, an ex-partner with abusive behavior can become a dangerous stalker. In such cases, it would be best to call the police to protect you and your family.
Methods to Protect Yourself
Stalkers can be stubborn, and the victim might try to ignore them hoping their indifference might stop the distressing behavior. However, ignoring the stalker often proves to be an ineffective method if they have no issues with crossing your boundaries.
The most important thing to do when you have a stalker is to be aware of your surroundings. Stay alert and observe the environment around you. Don’t engage in direct contact with the stalker, and incorporate extra security measures, such as security cameras and locks. Gather all the evidence you can, including security camera footage, photos, messages, and letters. Get in touch with the local law enforcement agency.
Be aware of your surroundings
If you have a stalker or suspect someone is violating your privacy, stay alert. Observe your neighborhood to check for any strangers or vehicles that pass frequently. Write down any suspicious events that would compromise your safety. Also, don’t forget that social media makes it easier for stalkers to reach their target. A stalker can find your phone number, address or email through social media and continue to harass you. Therefore, it is essential to conceal any private information online to limit their access.
Don’t interact with the stalker
As we’ve already explained, the stalker believes they have a relationship with their target. Any attempt to communicate with them directly can be perceived as validation. Never talk to them in person or answer their phone calls. Also, make sure not to respond to their text messages. In fact, you should avoid any action that would signal interest to them. You might get frustrated and feel the need to yell at them, but even this action can be perceived as expressing interest. Again, we would advise you to save their communications for evidence. Ask a friend or relative to help and communicate your message to the stalker. But if you know the stalker has a history of violent behavior, avoid any contact and contact law enforcement.
Ask for support
Having a stalker that violates your privacy feels very frustrating, so it might be best to share your concerns with someone you trust. Let your parents, spouse, neighbors, doorman, or coworkers know you’ve been harassed. Besides helping you in unpleasant situations, they can also spot the person and be a witness. The doorman in your building can let you know if the specific person has made attempts to come closer to you, or your colleagues can spot the stalker in proximity to the workplace.
Call the local police department
Even non-violent forms of stalking need to be reported to the police. However, remember they need at least two unwanted contacts to charge someone. Also, ask for instructions on how to increase your safety and gather evidence in case of an incident.
Get a restraining order
Severe cases of stalking require legal action, especially if the stalker has a history of violent behavior. The law can impose an order that requires the stalker to stay away from you. However, getting a restraining order may escalate the violence. If there is a risk of violence, stalking victims can decide to find a new place to live. In such cases, they should take all the necessary measures to prevent the stalker from finding them. Remaining anonymous in public real estate records is a good way to enhance privacy and safety.
How Can a Private Investigator Help?
Private investigators can conduct a background check regarding a person’s professional, personal, financial, and criminal history. In cases of stalking, the criminal history of stalkers is of enormous importance.
The investigator can reveal whether the person has manifested abusive behavior in the past and if they have a history of violence. Also, they can locate an individual so you can protect yourself. Modern technology can help stalkers, so an investigator can use digital forensic tools to detect any spyware in mobile phones or other devices.
In severe cases of abuse and stalking, private investigators can be of great help. They have the necessary expertise and equipment to enhance security and gather evidence that can be used in a court of law. They can help you discover if a stranger is stalking you and find out their identity. Furthermore, a private investigator can provide evidence for a restraining order or any related violations.