Stalking behavior includes unsolicited phone calls, letters, e-mails and gifts; following the victim; turning up unnecessarily at the victim’s residence or workplace; spreading information or rumors about the victim. (BJS web site). Contrary to popular perception, Stalking Victimization is not confined to celebrities, but is widely prevalent in American society today, with 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men likely to encounter this crime. The majority of stalkers are known, even intimately, to their victims. In addition to the generation of fear and the disruption of lives, stalking is often the precursor to lethal violence. In this context, stalking has rightly been classified as a crime in all the States of America, although legal definitions may vary across jurisdictions. (COPS web site).
The distinct characteristics of the crime make stalking “hard to identify, investigate, and prosecute” (The Police Chief, January 2009). As stalking behaviors do not conform to any norm, there can be no fixed response. Stalkers defy any standard psychological profiling, as their motives and backgrounds vary considerably. When stalking is linked to domestic violence, as it often is, the stalking aspect of the crime tends to be overlooked. Investigators are frequently hindered by the blurring of jurisdictions, as stalkers pursue victims across state borders. It is difficult to protect the victims, as stalkers are largely persistent, even in the face of punitive action. (The Police Chief, January 2009).
Another contemporary facet of Stalking Victimization is the abuse of technology by stalkers to harass their victims. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, encourage the sharing of personal information. These sites are mined by stalkers to keep track of the victim’s activities. Tracking devices, such as Global positioning systems and cell phones, lend themselves to use by stalkers through the monitoring of