CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — While millions of people are considered victim’s of stalking, many cases never get reported – especially on college campuses.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, the Illinois Attorney General’s office is trying to increase awareness.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports
Authorities say the main reason most college students do not report campus stalking is because most do not realize or believe it’s a crime.
“Whether it’s because they believe that law enforcement won’t do anything or can’t do anything, and so there’s a lot of different reasons victims choose not to report,” said Michelle Garcia of the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Stalking is defined by a pattern of behavior that would cause someone fear.
It can mean following a person, conducting surveillance, appearing at the person’s home, workplace or school, making unwanted phone calls, sending unwanted e-mails or text messages, leaving objects for the person, vandalizing property, or hurting a pet, according to state law.
Many victims alter their daily routines to avoid a stalker, and some victims become so afraid that they move to another city, town or state.
An estimated 70 percent of victims know their stalkers, but contrary to stereotypes, only 30 percent of victims previously dated or had intimate relationships with the stalkers, according to state law.
Last year in Illinois, the law permitting victims to file for a Stalking No-Contact order went into effect. Such an order can be issued even if the victim has never had a relationship with the alleged stalker.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says ‘s the best law in place right now.
“While law enforcement often did take it seriously, their hands have been tied. They didn’t have the laws they needed to actually protect people,”
Officials also encourage limiting the information that is placed on social networking sites for further protection.