January is Stalking Awareness Month and Union County States attorney Tyler Edmonds wants the public to know how dangerous this can be.
Millions of people are victims of some type of stalking every year.
It can start by seeming innocent with phone calls, gifts, or frequent visits and lead to more dangerous activity like threats, assault, or worse - death.
Union County States attorney Tyler Edmonds joined Sheriff Scott Harvel and The Women’s Center Executive Director Cathy McClanahan to raise awareness of stalking and educate the public on how to protect their selves.
“I really want to emphasize that stalking is a very serious crime that often goes under reported and unrecognized.”
Edmonds says they prosecute a handful of cases each year but many times the victims don’t recognize the pattern of behavior.
“When we look at the full coarse of conduct it’s something that could have been reported much earlier and that is very common in my experience.”
Sheriff Scott Harvel says keeping detailed records of the stalkers behavior will help stop to it.
“Save all text messages, emails and social media so that they may share this with law enforcement.”
And that information should be shared right away because it provides a record and that information might not be available to them later.
“It does allow us to have more of a record when we are going into the courtroom to prosecute a case in terms the volume, and we have dates and times and specific content.”
The majority of stalkers are known to the victims or had a previous relationship with them.
Victims are encouraged to take action if their being stalked by trusting your instincts, calling the police, keeping logs and records of behavior and unwanted contact, and develop a safety plan.