While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
Behaviors a stalker may display:
- Follow you and show up wherever you are.
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
- Damage your home, car, or other property.
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
- Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
- Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.), in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.
If you are being stalked, you may:
- Feel fear of what the stalker will do.
- Feel vulnerable, unsafe, and not know who to trust.
- Feel anxious, irritable, impatient, or on edge.
- Feel depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful, or angry.
- Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things.
- Have eating problems, such as appetite loss, forgetting to eat, or overeating.
- Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
- Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don't understand why you are afraid.
If you believe you are being harassed or stalked, cease all communication with the other person and report the incidents to CTX Police or local police in your jurisdiction.
- CTX Police Department512-313-3311
- Austin Police Department:The City of Austin has a non-emergency telephone line, 3-1-1, that anyone from within the city limits, on either a cell phone or land line, can call for help or advice. If you can't get that number to work, you can also call (512) 974-2000, which will take you to the same line. Operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Travis County Sheriff's Department:non emergency reports can be filed online or you may call 512-974-0845.
Save all call/contact details, voicemails, text messages, emails and online activity to present to local authorities.
*Adapted from www.victimsofcrime.org