January is National Stalking Awareness Month

Stalking is a crime that affects millions of people each year. University of Michigan police officers receive about 21 inquiries related to stalking behavior on average each year affecting our students, faculty, and staff. The Division of Public Safety and Security is dedicated to educating the campus community about how to identify and report it.

What is stalking?

According to Michigan law, stalking is defined as “a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened and/or harassed.”

Any unwanted contact between an offender and their target that communicates a direct or indirect threat or makes the victim fearful is considered stalking.

Examples of stalking include unwanted:

  • Phone calls and texts
  • Appearances at the home or workplace
  • Watching or following

Nearly one in six women and one in 17 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point, so it is important to realize that absolutely anyone can experience stalking in their lifetime. The majority of victims are stalked by someone they know and 18-24-year-olds experience the highest rate of stalking victimization. To learn more about how to establish boundaries and preserve stalking evidence, please visit our stalking safety tips page.

How can you report stalking?

We take all reports seriously and complete full investigations. If you find yourself in this situation, after making a report, you will be connected with the UMPD Special Victims Unit, which specializes in interpersonal violence incidents and helps guide survivors throughout the process.

“Our involvement in a stalking case can really help victims regain control of their daily life,” said Special Victims Unit police officer Margie Pillsbury. “Often stalkers completely disrupt someone’s life through calls, texts, unexpected visits or worse. The sooner you get help, the better.”

If you or someone you know is being stalked, seek help as soon as possible by contacting DPSS at (734) 763-1131 or 911 in an emergency.

Are you interested in educating your department or student group on stalking safety tips and resources? DPSS regularly provides safety presentations to students, faculty, and staff on issues concerning safety and wellbeing free of charge.

To request an educational safety presentation, contact DPSS Community Outreach at (734) 763-3434, email dpss-safety-security@umich.edu or fill out the online request form.

Additional stalking resources: