How to deal with stalkers: Imagine you’re walking to your car. It’s just getting dark and the street lights have come on. You pull out your keys like you always do, give them a jingle, and pull out your phone to check those last few updates before you get to your car. A few moments pass and you look up. You look up to see a hooded figure ahead of you, leaning against your car. Who is it? An ex-intimate partner? A work colleague? Someone you just met online? The next moment is critical to your personal safety.
This scenario is unfortunately common for stalking victims. According to John Carroll University Violence Prevention and Action Center, a majority of stalking victims are young — aged between 18 and 24 — and female. Much of this is perpetuated by factors related to acquaintance rape, but the reality of having a stalker is not limited to young women, and it is not a situation that calls for lax personal safety measures.
January is Stalking Awareness Month, and we want to take the time to offer input on handling a stalker, a confrontation, and higher-level security options.
Stalker behavior is relatively easy to identify, but it is also easy to blow out of proportion. True stalking behaviors include knowing your schedule and showing up uninvited to places or functions you attend; sending unwanted and excessive mail, e-mail, photos, and gifts; excessively reaching out to you, particularly via phone calls, texts, and social media messages; posting about you unnecessarily or obsessively on social networking sites; damaging or stealing your property; and any other actions intended to contact, harass track or frighten you. Now, if you are in a dispute with an intimate partner that has not led to a complete separation in the relationship, similar signs — seemingly excessive attempts to contact you — are probably not signs of stalking. A true stalker is someone you generally do not desire to be in your life and who may intend to hurt you so as to make you “theirs.” Nonetheless, if you feel you are in danger, you should take steps to ensure your personal safety.
If you think you are being stalked, be sure to record everything. Who is the stalker? What does he/she look like? For every incident — whether online or physical — record the date, time, location and incident. If possible, take photo evidence such as a screen shot. Here is a sample stalking log. Alert the appropriate authorities and family members to the situation at hand.
In handling a situation like the one described at the start of this article, there are a few options. Assume that your stalker has now made his/her presence one of confrontation. Immediately call 911 and/or your local authorities. Head to a safe place like your office, a visible security guard or kiosk, a friend or relative’s home, or a public place where you are surrounded by potential witnesses.
Should things become confrontational, such as the stalker engages you verbally or physically, make a ruckus. Don’t be afraid to call for help. Fight to the best of your abilities. If you have not done so already, call the police.
If you feel there is a greater risk posed to your personal safety, you may need close protection. Close protection, also known as having a bodyguard, offers you a visual deterrence from a stalker as well as a physical one. In other words, if a stalker sees you with someone, particularly a someone who is new and looks like their job is to protect you, he/she is less likely to attempt contact. Additionally, if a stalker makes an attempt to contact you, your bodyguard has the right to end the contact immediately.
Alternatively, you may be interested in surveillance – that is – documenting the behavior of the stalker by a professional investigator that can then be used for litigation and/or criminal prosecution.
AEGIS Security & Investigations offers top-notch close protection agents. Locally in Southern California, statewide, nationally and internationally, our bodyguards conduct discreet and professional full-service security operations for our discerning clientele. Fully trained, industry-respected and field-tested, our executive protection agents and close protection professionals have a ZERO loss record. Supported closely by our operations team via our web-based command and control systems, our autonomously operating security agents receive as-needed briefs, situational awareness updates and guidance to better prepare our clients in navigating their environment. AEGIS creates and executes solutions for our clients to accomplish their specific personal safety and security objectives.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
Authors: Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner