CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper Police Department took to social media Thursday morning to explain several aspects of stalking.
According to Wyoming statue, the crime of stalking is described as if a person, with intent to harass another person, engages in a course of conduct reasonably likely to harass that person, including but not limited to:
- Communicating, anonymously or otherwise, or causing a communication with another person by verbal, electronic, mechanical, telegraphic, telephonic or written means in a manner that harasses;
- Following a person, other than within the residence of the defendant;
- Placing a person under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her school, place of employment, vehicle, other place occupied by the person, or residence other than the residence of the defendant; or
- Otherwise engaging in a course of conduct that harasses another person.
“Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear,” the Casper Police Department said Thursday. “Many stalking victims experience being followed, approached and/or threatened – including through technology.”
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Casper PD describes stalking as a “terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right” as well as a predictor of serious violence.
“In 85% of cases where an intimate partner (i.e., boyfriend or husband) attempted to murder his partner, there was stalking in the year prior to the attack,” the Casper Police Department says. “We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors.”
Equal Justice Wyoming is a state funded civil legal services program that works with Wyoming legal aid providers and community organizations to help people with limited income find help for legal problems.
“Many victims struggle with how to respond to the stalker,” says the Equal Justice Wyoming webpage on stalking. “Some victims try to reason with the stalker, try to ‘let them down easy’ or ‘be nice’ in hopes of getting the stalker to stop the behavior. Some victims tell themselves that the behavior ‘isn’t that bad’ or other sentiments that minimize the stalking behavior.”
Other victims may also confront or threaten the stalker and/or try to fight back. However, Equal Justice Wyoming says these methods rarely work because stalkers are actually encouraged by any contact with the victim, even negative interactions.
Officials encourage anyone who suspects they are being stalked to contact law enforcement. Equal Justice Wyoming says that in Wyoming, police officers can help victims and may take whatever steps necessary to reasonably protect the victim. Police officers can also advise the stalking victim of how to obtain a civil protection order, information about a shelter medical care, counseling, and other services.
“Additionally, when reporting incidents to law enforcement, you should always write down the officer’s name and badge number for your own records,” Equal Justice Wyoming advises. “Even if officers do not make an arrest, you can ask them to make a written report and request a copy for your records. Because this information could be introduced as evidence or inadvertently shared with the stalker at a future time, do not include any information that you do not want the offender to see.”