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January 11, 2013

Cyberstalking top priority for Safenet

CLAREMORE — January is national stalking awareness month and Safenet Services is working to get the message out to area residents.

Cyberstalking is growing concern, according to Safenet Services Director Susan Wolfenbarger.
President Barack Obama recently released a proclamation dealing with the issue.
The President is taking the issue of cyberstalking very seriously, Wolfenbarger added.
The release details the increase in stalking incidents during the past few years.
“Stalking is a pattern of unwanted contact that causes victims to fear for their safety or the safety of family members. It can include implied or explicit threats; harassment; or nonconsensual communication through phone calls, text messages, or emails. The perpetrator is usually someone the victim knows. Stalking behaviors may appear innocuous to outside observers, but victims often endure intense physical and emotional distress that affects every aspect of their lives. Many feel forced to move, or change jobs. Tragically, stalking tends to escalate over time, and it is sometimes followed by sexual assault or homicide,” according to the document.
The Obama administration will be holding the first ever stalking roundtable with survivors this month and is encouraging law enforcement agencies to place renewed focus on the issue.
Technology is being put into place to decrease cyberstalking, catch stalkers and protect victims.
“We are seeing an increase in cyberstalking locally, with the increase of social media,” said Charles Downum, Claremore Police Department Assistant Chief of Police. 
Do not readily give out cell phone or email addresses to people you don’t know well, he added.
“If you are being stalked, contact the police department,” Downum said.
Safenet Services offers assistance to victims of domestic abuse and stalking for more information contact the office at (918) 341-1424.

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