• Center for Problem oriented policing

Summary of Responses to Stalking

The table below summarizes the responses to stalking, the mechanism by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they ought to work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

General Responses
Response No.ResponseHow It WorksWorks Best If...Considerations
1Identifying stalking cases early Allows the system to address stalking before cases escalate…the police department implements a clear stalking protocol and trains all officers in the screening of stalking casesRequires the department to identify and track repeat crimes
2Getting effective victim input Provides police with the information necessary to apprehend, build prosecutable cases against, and deter stalkersvictims trust policePolice should also solicit input from the victim's family members, neighbors, employer, coworkers, and others
3Ensuring that victims receive consistent, professional support services throughout the criminal justice process Victims create safety plans and receive support from advocates, thereby ensuring victim safety and support while saving the police department's manpower resourcesthe department encourages the use of advocates and officers are trained to use them in stalking casesRequires the availability of advocates trained and experienced in safety planning
4Using a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach Gathers service providers and community resources to coordinate a wide-ranging response; ensures that the victim's personal information and privacy are protectedall applicable service providers and stakeholders are included in the problem-solving effortRequires that all involved develop working relationships and coordinate together
5Enforcing all relevant laws Deters and/or incapacitates the stalkerpolice recognize the stalking pattern early onRequires cooperation from prosecutors
6Assessing the threat the stalker poses Identifies the stalking motives and threat levels, and enables the development of an effective response for the particular victimpolice gather sufficient reliable information on which to assess the threatRequires the commitment of investigative resources to properly assess threats in individual cases
7Warning and arresting stalkersDeters and/or incapacitates stalkersstalkers are genuinely unaware that their conduct is illegal and/or threatening, and police recognize the threat stalkers poseRequires cooperation from prosecutors
8Adopting a graduated-response stalking protocol Tailors the official response to the threat each stalking incident poses, thereby increasing the likelihood of effectiveness while conserving scarce resourcesthere are adequate resources available to respond to stalking, and sufficient information in each case to tailor the appropriate responseProtocol should be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the circumstances of each case
9Monitoring stalkers and gathering evidence Improves the development of criminal cases against stalkersthe police department prioritizes stalking cases to make officers and other resources availableSurveillance of suspects can be labor-intensive
10Providing victims with a single point of contact Enhances the quantity and quality of the information victims provide to police; enhances victims' confidence in police and willingness to assist with prosecutionsthe contact is provided with all relevant information to assist victimsAll police officers should receive basic training in stalking