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There’s nothing funny about being the victim of a stalking situation. It’s a crime that often quickly escalates and can end in violence. If you suspect you have a stalker, there are a few things you should do right away.

Take the Situation Seriously

Don’t assume that you’re simply feeling a little jumpy or that you’re making mountains out of molehills. One of the reasons so many stalkers are successful is that they do a good job of appearing benign at first. While you probably shouldn’t immediately accuse the neighbor you randomly ran into a few nights in a row of stalking you, it’s okay to feel paranoid and to start taking steps to protect yourself.

Alert Someone to the Situation

The first thing you need to do is let someone know what’s happening. Not only will you feel better after you’ve spoken to someone, but they will also have your back. They are a second set of eyes that can see if someone is lurking each time you go out. The more people who are in on the situation, the less risky it becomes.

Record Everything

If the case goes to court, you’re going to have to prove that you were being stalked and how long the stalking when on. If you tell people about the situation, they can help back up your story, but you should also have a written record of everything that happened. Make sure you keep a record of each correspondence, seemingly random encounter, unwanted gift, and spotting that occurred.

Shake Up Your Routine

Make it hard to keep tabs on you. While you may not be able to change where you work or live, you can take different routes each time you travel. You should also change the times you go out and the locations where you shop.

Contact the Police

If things don’t change or if the stalking seems to be escalating, it’s time to get the police involved. Take your evidence to the police station, present it to the officers, and arrange to have a personal protection order (PPO) filed against the person who has been stalking you.

What steps have you taken to extract yourself from a stalking situation?