The number of stalking reports by U.S. law enforcement agencies has declined since 2011, but a recent report reveals that many Americans are still fearful about their safety as the internet turns into a new frontier for criminals.
According to the Threat & Risk Intelligence Review, released by UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE), stalking was the most common form of crime reported by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in 2017 and 2018. The report also noted that women were significantly more likely to be stalked than men.
Lizzi Marriott was stabbed to death in September of 2014 on a resort balcony in Herkimer, New York. Her former boyfriend, Joseph Edward Austrie Jr., was convicted of stalking her.
Austrie sent Marriott and her family disturbing messages to her mobile phone saying he was there “to watch you die.” Police said he was obsessed with the small college in California and waited outside Marriott’s off-campus apartment.
Is your dating app stalking you?
Swatting is a term that refers to situations where a caller calls 911, claiming that someone has been shot and the culprit, impersonating a police officer, is coming to the scene. But police are currently investigating reports of incidents including a shooting that occurred in Louisiana, following a prank caller claiming to be inside the room.
A Reddit user created a tool where you can add your home address to their list of sources when writing up a lawsuit, and it tracked more than a million cases of swatting.
You’re not the only one that gets stalked
Sexual harassment, stalking and death are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems stalking presents to its victims.
Women can face far more attention and threats than men and so much so that they are often far less likely to report it, as well as more likely to feel that they’ve made a big mistake in speaking out.
After Amanda Michelle Blacklock, 18, was murdered in Alabama in July 2017 by her former classmate, David Duane Edward Nelson, police say a teacher on school grounds observed a man following Blacklock and confronted Nelson, who was dressed in all black and sporting large bugles around his neck. Police also said that Blacklock had a gun on her when she was killed.
The Associated Press found that police in Georgia, West Virginia, California, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, and Illinois have more victims of stalkers than murder victims as well.
In a statement, UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education also noted that women are twice as likely to be stalked as men are, are nearly four times more likely to feel stalked and nearly ten times more likely to experience being followed.