Editor's Note: Thank you to Kristin MacKay for posting this as an announcement on Patch.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco wants to bring more awareness to this crime that affects approximately 6.6 million victims each year.
Stalking is a complex crime characterized by a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. Stalkers will also use technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track a victim’s daily activities.
Sheriff DeMarco advises individuals who are victimized by stalking behavior to keep accurate records of their perpetrator’s actions and to seek help from law enforcement and the courts. “Always call 911 if you are in any immediate danger, and trust your instincts. Begin to collect any emails, phone messages, notes and any other evidence when you feel uncomfortable in your interactions with another individual,” he said. “Information collected over the course of time can be very helpful to law enforcement and if you need to seek a court order of protection,” DeMarco added.
Victims of stalking and domestic violence often suffer from constant anxiety and fear about their safety. Sheriff DeMarco offers information about applying for an order of protection, and the Sheriff’s Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification program (SAVIN-NY) on his website at www.suffolksheriff.com.