January marks national stalking awareness month and psychologists here are hoping to shine some light on the problem.
About 6.6 million people are stalked every year in the U.S. And even though it's a crime in all 50 states, many victims and criminal professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact.
Psychologist Dr. Michelle Carro says in 1 in 5 cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten their victim. Victims can suffer anxiety and depression, and unlike other crimes, stalking is not easily identifiable. It can be confusing for victims because they don't always realize the behavior is dangerous.
Stalking can range from unwanted calls, emails and gifts to visits from the stalker. Carro says 75 percent of victims know their stalker. Mental health professionals in Las Vegas are working hard to get the word out that we all have the power to help stop stalking in our community.
"There can be sort of a lack of awareness that in fact, what this person is doing to you is in fact not OK and you have the right to ask that it stop or put some boundaries around the relationship so that you don't have to tolerate those unwanted contacts."
Contact the police if you feel you're being stalked and make a safety plan. Keep evidence of the stalking by writing down the time, date and place your stalker contacts you and tell notify friends and family.
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