Stalking Awareness Month

Experts define stalking as any type of behavior that leads another person to be in fear, and it happens all the time here in East Texas.

Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Departmen said, "We see an awful lot of harassment and stalking type calls. Where relationships go bad and boyfriends and girlfriends follow and call and text each other."

While situations like those may sometimes seem childish, Lufkin police do come across cases that turn into full-fledged stalking.

"These things can get very serious! we had recently where it escalated to an attmepted kidnapping. The ex boyfriend actually drug her out of the workplace and put here in a vehicle," Young added.

That woman was able to escape her stalker, but not all victims are so lucky. That's why officials at the Women's Shelter of East Texas do their best to help.

Judy May, the Shelter's Human Resource Manager, said, "With our women, the stalking means just not letting go. I'm not going to let you go and have your life. I'm going to be there every time you turn around."

Most stalking victims the shelter deals with are women. Many of them are Stephen F. Austin students and women from age 25 to 35. But men can be stalking victims too. Experts say there are two different kinds of stalking.

"The first kind is intimate partner stalking where someone is stalking an individual with whom they've had an individual relationship, like a boyfriend or husband...someone who will not let a relationship go after it has ended. The second type are stranger stalkers, who are see someone across the room and fall madly in love with them. You don't even know who they are. You don't even know their name," May told us.

Both types of stalkers are dangerous.

"If you find that they're always around, where you go, they're there. If you always bump into them and they make statements to you such as, 'I can't live without you,' or 'I'm going to get you back no matter what,' take those kinds of things seriously. Report it," May said.

Stalking is a 3rd degree felony in the state of Texas. It can be updgraded to a 2nd degree felony if the person charged also has a previous stalking conviction.