Jan. Is National Stalking Awareness Month

Jan 14, 2016

Stalking is a crime that law enforcement officials say is difficult to recognize and prosecute.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a crime that affects 7.5 million people each year.

Teresa Eubanks is the coordinator of the rape crisis services program at the Women's Center in Carbondale. She says stalking can be difficult to prosecute because lawyers and judges can interpret the crime differently. Eubanks says that's why victims need to document as many incidents as possible.

"The best thing for someone to do if they feel like they're being stalked is to keep track of it, to keep a journal, no matter how minor it is, to keep track of everything they've got and to report every instance of stalking to build a case."

Eubanks says although the victims in this area are mainly women, this crime does not discriminate.

"Stalking can affect anyone at any age group, any socio-economic class, race, gender; I mean it's across the board."

Eubanks says stalkers don't fit a psychological profile and often follow their victims, even if they move, making it difficult for authorities to investigate the crime.

This year's theme is Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It. Officials encourage community members to report incidents of stalking, as well as promote awareness and public education about the crime.