Northern Iowan

Stalking a growing problem on campus

Based+on+UNI%27s+Annual+Security+and+Fire+Safety+Report%2C+stalking+is+one+of+the+growing+crimes+on+campus%2C+defined+by+a+pattern+of+conduct+that+causes+another+person+to+fear+for+their+safety+or+suffer+substantial+emotional+distress.
Based on UNI's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, stalking is one of the growing crimes on campus, defined by a pattern of conduct that causes another person to fear for their safety or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Based on UNI's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, stalking is one of the growing crimes on campus, defined by a pattern of conduct that causes another person to fear for their safety or suffer substantial emotional distress.

PEXELS

PEXELS

Based on UNI's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, stalking is one of the growing crimes on campus, defined by a pattern of conduct that causes another person to fear for their safety or suffer substantial emotional distress.

ALANNA BYRNES, Guest Writer

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Editor’s Note: The following story was submitted for publication by a news writing for media  student at UNI.

Each student at UNI could be a victim of the most common crime trend on campus: stalking.

According to UNI’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report 2017, stalking is defined as “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a person to (A) fear for the persons safety or the safter of others or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.”

Helen Haire, chief of police and director of public safety at UNI, discussed how stalking has become more  common on campus.

Haire explained how stalking in today’s era is not necessarily tied to the stereotypically creepy stranger or peeping Tom. According to Haire, stalking can be as much as someone “texting a person multiple times after they have been told to stop more than two times.”

In 2016, there were 33 total accounts of stalking on UNI’s campus, according to UNI’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. This total number of reported stalking on campus has consistently risen throughout the past three years.

“These higher numbers don’t necessarily mean a bad thing, [because] these numbers are probably still very underreported,” Haire said.

Haire went on to explain that it could be that more people are becoming comfortable reporting these crime incidents in 2016, as compared to prior years.

Stalking is primarily reported by the victim. Once there has been a report made to the police, the police ask the victim their location, if they feel threatened and, lastly, if the victim would like the police to take action.

“Sometimes it just takes a phone call from us [the police] to the stalker for them to stop harassing the victim,” Haire said.

However, if the offense does not stop, it could be taken to a criminal level or to a level entailing a violation of the student conduct code, possibly banning the perpetrator from UNI’s campus.

Haire explained how sometimes the victim is simply “too nice” or afraid to tell the stalker to stop because a “healthy percentage” of stalking is relationship related.

For example, when a couple begins to date, and one person does not want to continue the relationship simply because they are not interested, things can get rocky, according to Haire.

The person wanting to continue the relationship could then begin to harass the other by sending multiple text messages, calls, slander or even to the extent of, in one case, putting a dead squirrel on the handle of their car.

Stalking can go from one extreme to the other. However, it’s best to be aware of the inappropriate act in the beginning, when someone is first crossing the line and when it is best to contact the authorities.

In the situation in which someone may feel threatened as a result of stalking, it is encouraged for them to contact the UNI police at 319-273-2712.

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Stalking a growing problem on campus