Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses

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 How It Works Works Best If... Considerations
1 Identifying 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 cases Requires the department to identify and track repeat crimes
2 Getting effective victim input Provides police with the information necessary to apprehend, build prosecutable cases against, and deter stalkers …victims trust police Police should also solicit input from the victim's family members, neighbors, employer, coworkers, and others
3 Ensuring 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 resources …the department encourages the use of advocates and officers are trained to use them in stalking cases Requires the availability of advocates trained and experienced in safety planning
4 Using 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 protected …all applicable service providers and stakeholders are included in the problem- solving effort Requires that all involved develop working relationships and coordinate together
5 Enforcing all relevant laws Deters and/or incapacitates the stalker …police recognize the stalking pattern early on Requires cooperation from prosecutors
6 Assessing the threat the stalker poses Identifies the stalking motives and threat levels, and enables the development of an effective response for the particular victim …police gather sufficient reliable information on which to assess the threat Requires the commitment of investigative resources to properly assess threats in individual cases
7 Warning and arresting stalkers Deters and/or incapacitates stalkers …stalkers are genuinely unaware that their conduct is illegal and/or threatening, and police recognize the threat stalkers pose Requires cooperation from prosecutors
8 Adopting 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 resources …there are adequate resources available to respond to stalking, and sufficient information in each case to tailor the appropriate response Protocol should be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the circumstances of each case
9 Monitoring stalkers and gathering evidence Improves the development of criminal cases against stalkers …the police department prioritizes stalking cases to make officers and other resources available Surveillance of suspects can be labor-intensive
10 Providing 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 prosecutions …the contact is provided with all relevant information to assist victims All police officers should receive basic training in stalking