Stalking takes many forms and all of them can terrorize a victim.
 
These days, social media can play a role in a stalker’s plan, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
 
Stalking is where a victim has felt fearful for his or her life in any degree. 
 
One in six women and one in 19 men have been victimized by stalking. 
 
And with the power of social media, the national number is in the millions. 
 
“There’s a lot of that that occurs,” says THPD Chief John Plasse. “Unfortunately every year, 7.5 million times a year. And it’s pretty staggering.” 
 
Stalking is a recognized crime under the laws of all 50 states. 
 
But less than one third of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. 
 
One way that residents are staying safe is to walk with a companion. 
 
“Usually I find, when I’m walking my dog, that he inhibits people from approaching me,” says Mary Thompson. “Especially men in the evening.”
 
“You know, having a sister, a mother, a fiance, I would never want them walking really anywhere in public, downtown,” says Trisian Ireland. “Not just here, but anywhere by themselves.” 
 
But even then, other components are also playing a key role. 
 
“A lot of people “check in” if they’re like going to Kroger, or going here,” says Chief Plasse. “Don’t let someone know where you’re going to be if you don’t want them to follow you. Don’t give locations, events you’re going to go to. Don’t do that.” 
 
The Stalking Resource Center reports that two thirds of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, but mainly daily. 
 
“If you feel like that’s happening to you, don’t be afraid to tell someone,” says Thompson. 
 
Now of the two thirds of the stalkers who pursue their victims once a week or daily, stalking resource also shares that 78% of stalkers use more than one approach. 
 
There are things you can do to make yourself a less viable victim. 
 
Park under lights in a parking lot. 
 
When leaving a store, have keys ready and your phone put away. 
 
Walk with your head up, and check for your surroundings.  
 
And if you are alone, let a friend or family member know where you are and when you’re leaving.