Stalking is not something that you should take lightly. It's often a precursor to very serious and awful crimes such as rape, kidnapping or even murder. If a person is stalking you, there is a strong chance that they are monitoring your behavior and routines in order find an opportunity to cause you harm.
Because of this, you should take action if you believe that you are being stalked. Here's what to do if you believe that you are the victim of a stalker.
1. Do not ignore it.
Stalking is often done by people who are acquaintances of the victim. Because many victims are used to seeing the person in real life anyway, they do not take the threat very seriously. You should definitely not ignore it if you feel as though you are being stalked.
2. Report the behavior to the police.
Reporting the behavior to the police is a wise thing to do; it puts the stalker on their radar, and the police department can then speak to the stalker as a warning. This alone could scare the stalker away. If you speak to the police about the stalking, they can let you know whether they think it's serious or not, and whether they believe that you are in danger.
3. Update safety precautions.
This can include getting better locks on your doors, alarms, guns for home defense, etc. The more safety precautions that you take, the less likely it is that the stalker will be able to harm you. It's also wise to make sure that you carry self-defense items on your person at all times, such as pepper spray. This can potentially be lifesaving in certain scenarios. Pepper spray is inexpensive and easy to obtain, so it is definitely something that you should consider buying.
4. Inform key people in your life about the stalking.
If you inform your family members and friends that you are being stalked by someone, then it increases the awareness of the activity. Other people can then be on the lookout for the stalker as an extra safety precaution. If the stalker feels that more people are aware of their illegal behavior, then it can reduce the chance of them continuing it.
5. File a restraining order.
If you feel that the stalking qualifies as harassment, or that you might be in danger, then you should file a restraining order against the person. If you do not know who the person is, then you can seek assistance from the police in identifying the person. If you can take a quick photo of the person when you see them in public, then this can be very helpful for the police. However, you should never put yourself in danger just to obtain such a photo.
If you file a restraining order, then you will have to go through a process to get the restraining order approved. This can involve filling out paperwork at your local court, paying a fee and waiting to hear whether the judge approves the restraining order request. In some circumstances, you may also have to go to a hearing. If this is the case, then the judge will ask you a series of questions and look at any evidence that you present to determine whether a restraining order is warranted.
If it is, then they will approve of it, and it will go into effect. The stalker will then be notified, and if they come within a certain distance of you after that, then they can be arrested. Obtaining a restraining order is one of the best things that you can do to protect yourself if you believe that you are being stalked.
Being the victim of stalking can be an extremely unsettling experience. However, if you take action, then you can prevent a worse crime that could occur if no intervention is taken. Many stalkers prefer easy targets who do nothing to protect themselves. If you do things such as inform the police or get a restraining order, then it can be a major deterrent to the stalker.