Stalking is the unwanted pursuit of another person, such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property. By its nature, stalking is not a one-time event.
The individual’s actions must be considered in connection with other actions to determine if someone is being stalked. It includes repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward another person, whether that person is a total stranger, slight acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, or anyone else.
Stalking is a relatively new crime now on the books in every state. Stalking laws in most states pertain to a relatively new crime involving a clear pattern of conduct in which the offender follows, harasses, or threatens another person, putting that person in fear for his or her safety. An individual may be charged with stalking regardless of any pre-existing relationship with the victim. Stalking victims can range from celebrities to former spouses who have obtained a protective order against their ex.
In California, for instance, stalking is defined as:
Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family.
So, for example, Dan spends a number of hours each week harassing Victoria, his former girlfriend, by following her home from work, sending her threatening emails, and calling her in the middle of the night. Dan could likely be charged with stalking.
Most notably, celebrities have frequently been the victims of stalking activity, when fans become obsessed with the object of their attention.