Countless resources exist on-campus for UNC Charlotte students who are concerned they are a victim of stalking, those who are currently being stalked and those overcoming a stalker.
Officer Jerry Lecomte, community policing coordinator for the UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety Department, sat down with the Niner Times to discuss stalking and how students can best cope with this dangerous situation.
How does campus police handle on-campus stalking issues?
Stalking is a crime in North Carolina, even from the basics of harassment, continued unwanted contact [to] relationship issues, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend. We want students to know that we are a resource to come to. We can get you help as needed, and we can help you file charges with something like that.
It’s important to know you can go to the police and not feel like it’s your fault. It’s important to know how to protect yourself and we just want folks to know that we’re here, we’re a resource and we have services available for [students].
What are some of the warning signs of being stalked?
Excessive text messages, excessive phone calls, things of that sort. Behaviors from the other person, you’ve told them no, to leave you alone, you’ve tried to separate from that person in an amicable manner, and that person is not adhering to that. They’re not responding to your requests, continuing to force contact.
What is the best way to try to stop a stalker early?
Just be very clear of your intentions that you don’t want contact. Make sure that you’re telling them that you don’t want contact and make sure that once you’ve established that, you’re documenting future contact. And contact us [the police] as soon as possible.
What is the next step after contacting the police?
Depending on whether it is a relationship or if it is just somebody random in general, a non-relationship scenario, there are a lot of different protective orders, different no-contact orders that can be issued on and off campus to help protect that person from the person committing that crime.
Do we have a lot of stalking cases on campus?
I would say we don’t have a lot on campus, but then again some folks may not be sure exactly what stalking entails. With technology, it may make it easier to keep track of somebody just as technology has progressed.
What specific precautions should an individual take against cyber stalking?
With the invent of technology, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, online [messaging], it’s 24-hour access to a person. It makes it more difficult for that person to escape that. Just being mindful that people have access to so much more information now with technology than they used to is important. As far as tracking information, try to keep as much information as you can for us [the police]. Text messages, e-mails, notes. It’s recommended to try to keep a log of the activity as it occurs, keeping documentation aside for us to review.
What specifically can a UNC Charlotte student do on campus in a public university setting?
If there is a student who just wants a no-contact order on campus, we can file one that is just good for UNC Charlotte. If you get one through the state of North Carolina, go down to the magistrate’s office, get it through the court, that’s good throughout the entire state so it’s a little bit more of an umbrella for that scenario.
What other services exist on campus for students to cope with stalking?
The Center for Wellness Promotion has information on relationships and things that will help you maybe see patterns earlier on. The Counseling Center as well, they can help work through some of the things that may have been involved in the stalking, things that maybe are deeper than just the stalking.
Where else can students learn about the dangers of stalking?
[The National Center for Victims of Crime] is a real good resource. They have a ton of stuff for stalking awareness. Things we’re using for different tables we’re setting up for this month. They’re definitely a great resource.