Stalking is a Serious Threat

Many individuals have the misconception that stalking is simply an annoyance. They're mistaken. Stalking is more than a nuisance. It is a crime that is a serious threat to personal safety. Episodes may last for years, escalate without intervention, and result in significant emotional, physical, and financial hardship. When violence is involved, stalking often results in lethal acts.

General Warning Signs

Stalking can comprise a variety of behaviors. Red flags identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office include an individual:

  • Threatening to harm or kill the victim or the victim’s family, friends, or pets.
  • Repeatedly following the victim to his/her home, job, gym, school, or other places.
  • Repeatedly calling the victim at home or at work.
  • Repeatedly sending the victim unwanted emails, instant messages, text messages, voice messages, and social media messages.
  • Sending the victim unwanted gifts or items, including menacing things such as dead flowers, torn-up photos, disfigured dolls, or dead animals.
  • Repeatedly waiting outside the victim’s home or workplace for no legitimate reason.
  • Leaving strange and potentially threatening items in places where victims will find them.
  • Showing up uninvited at places or events where the victim is present.
  • Vandalizing victim's home, car, or other property.
  • Sneaking into the victim's home or car and doing things to scare the victim or let them know the perpetrator was there.
  • Stealing the victim’s mail or monitoring the victim’s voice mail or email messages.
  • Utilizing online information sources or electronic devices such as GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment to track or monitor the victim’s activities.
  • Posting harassing information about the victim on the Internet, in chat rooms, or in other public places.

Cyberstalking Warning Signs

Cyberstalking warning signs include stalkers going online to:

  • Use social media to threaten their victims.
  • Use spyware to monitor their victim's computer activity (e.g., email, passwords).
  • Pretending to be their victim in chat rooms.
  • Forging damaging emails to the victim's family, friends, or co-workers.
  • Other harassing behaviors.

Take Escalation Seriously

Any escalation of stalking behaviors is cause for concern and steps should be taken to protect safety, including reporting incidents to law enforcement, Cal State LA Title IX Officer, or campus security authorities, and calling or texting 911 if there is a threat of imminent danger.

Stalking Defined

Criminal stalking is defined by California Penal Code §646.9. It states “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.”

Associated Crimes

Stalking cases can involve additional crimes and threatening behaviors, including identity theft; terrorism or criminal threats; vandalism; disclosing personal information about the victim to others; domestic violence; sexual assault; violation of protective/restraining orders; kidnapping; and murder.

Note: The following definitions are taken from the CSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation.

The CSU prohibits stalking. Stalking is often based on gender. CSU prohibits all such misconduct whether or not it is based on gender.

Stalking means engaging in a Course of Conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the safety of self or others’ safety or to suffer Substantial Emotional Distress. For purposes of this definition:

  • Course of Conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in which one party directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with the other party's property.
  • Substantial Emotional Distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

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