Stalkers Terrorize 3M Americans a Year: Study

Statistics prompt new calls for updated laws
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jan 14, 2009 4:36 PM CST
3.4 million victims were stalked over a 12-month period.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – More than 3 million Americans, mostly women aged 18-24, are stalked each year, but it’s an abuse rarely prosecuted, the Chicago Tribune reports. The staggering figure from a first-ever Justice Department study highlights the need to strengthen laws and enforcement, especially with technology now making it easier for stalkers to terrorize victims and disrupt their lives.

In Illinois, for example, where a 43-year-old was gunned down by a stalker last year, laws make prosecution difficult; protection orders are issued only if the accused is a former partner or household member. While stalking precedes many intimate killings, about two-thirds of stalkers were never romantically involved with their victims. “Our law is awkwardly written and probably antiquated,” admits an Illinois official.