141 W Elm
Wichita, KS 67203
Stalking is a criminal act that most people usually equate
with celebrities; however, stalking is a crime that is prevalent throughout the
United States. Recent statistics suggest that fourteen in every one thousand
American adults have been the victim of a stalker.1 Many, if not most, stalking
cases are directly related to a domestic violence situation in some capacity. In
fact, “about 1 in 6 victims believed the stalking started to keep him or her in
the relationship with the offender, and 1 in 10 reported the stalking began
while living with the offender.”1
In 2008, the Kansas legislature enacted some changes to the
which was much more specific in its wording and increased the severity of
stalking penalties. The Kansas statute defines stalking as “intentionally or
recklessly engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which
would cause a reasonable person in the circumstances of the targeted person to
fear for such person's safety, or the safety of a member of such person's
immediate family and the targeted person is actually placed in such fear.” But
what is a course of conduct? The statute gives the following examples:
Threatening the safety of the targeted person
or a member of such person's immediate family.
Following, approaching or confronting the
targeted person or a member of such person's immediate family.
Appearing in close proximity to, or entering
the targeted person's residence, place of employment, school or
other place where such person can be found, or the residence,
place of employment or school of a member of such person's
Causing damage to the targeted person's
residence or property or that of a member of such person's
Placing an object on the targeted person's
property or the property of a member of such person's immediate
family, either directly or through a third person.
Causing injury to the targeted person's pet or
a pet belonging to a member of such person's immediate family.
Any act of communication. (This would include
any form of communication, including phone, email, text, in
person, by mail, etc.)
The statute further explains that the “course of conduct” can
occur over any length of time and that two of the above incidents must have
occurred in order for the actions to truly be considered a course of conduct.
This being said, “stalking is unlike most crimes because a course of conduct
designed to create fear in another person does not necessarily require that the
victim come into contact with the offender.”1
If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of
stalking, there are a number of things that the Sheriff’s Office strongly
suggests that you do. One is to make sure that all incidents are strictly
documented. It is recommended that you keep a log with the date, time, location,
the names and contact information of witnesses, a description of the incident
and a police case number if pertinent. This log should be accurate and complete
and may be very helpful in a criminal prosecution against a stalker. Secondly,
friends, family, and co-workers should be notified about what is going on. Make
sure that you always carry a cell phone with you and that you avoid dangerous
activities such as walking alone across a deserted nighttime parking lot to your
vehicle. Make sure that whenever possible there is someone with you in locations
where you may be more vulnerable. It is also advisable that you and your family
and friends establish a code phrase in the event that you are cornered by your
stalker and for some reason are unable to call 911. For example, if your stalker
has broken into your residence and a family member happens to call, if you told
them a predetermined code phrase such as “My dog Patches has a vet appointment
tomorrow morning” then they would know that 911 needed to be called and that you
are possibly in danger. Finally, go through the necessary steps to obtain a
Protection from Stalking Order. This can be obtained at a county courthouse and
the process is outlined under the article entitled “PFA/PFS.” A violation of a
Protection from Stalking order is now a severity level nine, person felony.
Every violation of a PFS should be reported to law enforcement for documentation
purposes. Remember, however, that in some circumstances law enforcement officers
may not be able to make an arrest and may only be able to document the incident.
Thorough documentation, however, is essential for a successful stalking
While in some situations stalking victims have never
met their stalkers, in others, the victim and stalker have been friends,
co-workers, neighbors, or intimate partners. Because of this, it is important
that people do not give out personal information to people whom they hardly
know. This very much applies to Internet users. There have been many cases in
which victims were stalked by people they met in chat rooms, on Craig’s List,
and on dating websites. Use your common sense and if something just doesn’t feel
right, get out of that situation. Some possible warning signs that should not be
ignored are listed below:
If your partner has become very
If someone you know is overly
concerned about your whereabouts.
If someone you know is constantly
calling you to check up on you.
If you often “accidently” run
into the same person at either a public or private location.
If your partner is calling your
family and friends in an attempt to find you constantly.
If you begin receiving strange or
threatening pieces of mail, text messages, phone messages, or
messages via the Internet (ex. Instant messages, etc.) from
While this list is in no way exhaustive of all
possible stalking behaviors and actions, any of the above behaviors should be
noted and should be strongly considered by the possible victim.
Stalking is not a crime that will usually go away on
its own. It is important that you recognize what is happening and cooperate
fully with law enforcement officers as they investigate your case. In addition,
there are a number of community resources that are available to answer questions
and offer support and assistance if needed.
We, at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s
Office, are dedicated to helping citizens combat crime in their
neighborhoods. But we need your help! By utilizing
crime prevention techniques around your home, work place, and
vehicles, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim!
If you have any questions about what you could do to help
protect yourself and your property, please call either your
Community Liaison Unit at (316) 660-3920 or your Community
Policing Unit at (316) 660-0750.
information provided in this document is not intended to be
legal advice, but is merely intended to convey general
information commonly encountered when dealing with the Subjects
discussed herein. Because laws can change very rapidly, we
cannot guarantee that any
Information on this document (or references contained therein) is current
or accurate. Additionally, laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and
are subject to interpretation of courts located in each county. Legal advice
must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and the information
provided herein may not be an appropriate fit for your particular situation. The
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, its employees, agents, or others will not be
liable or responsible for any claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages related
to use of this document or any reference provided herein.
Frequently Asked Questions about Protection from Abuse and
Protection from Stalking Orders
Information for Stalking Victims
Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County
1Baum PhD, Katrina, Shannan Catalano PhD, Michael
Rand, and Kristina Rose. "Stalking Victimization in the United States."
Stalking Victimization in the United States. United States Department of
Justice, 01 Jan. 2009. Web. 10 Nov. 2009.
Date Reviewed: 12/03/2013
Written by: Deputy Christy Fischer
Reviewed by: J. Page D1642
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