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Connects Against Crime: Stalking Cases on the Rise

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Relentless...Invasive....Dangerous.

"It's terrifying...it's expensive...it's impractical," said Karla Miller, the Director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program.

Now there's another word being used to describe stalking - common.

"We've seen an increase, a pretty dramatic increase, over the last year," Miller said.

At the University of Iowa 20 cases of stalking in 2013 to be exact, according to the RVAP. That's up from just four cases in 2009.

"What we're looking at is an individual who is antisocial who is hurting somebody," Miller said. "They're wanting to instill terror, they're wanting to control that person."

Its bringing university officials together to work on solutions.

New on campus this upcoming spring semester - anti-stalking ads. The campaign is called Stalking - Know it. Name it. Stop it. It talks about the effects of stalking and where to get help.

One of those places, the UI police department, which says technology, has made their work a challenge.

"It makes it a moving target for everybody," said Sara Feldmann, a university Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator.

The days of just following someone down a street or watching them through a window are gone. In addition, stalkers are using cellphones, Facebook, even cameras on laptops to harass their victims.

"We have to keep up with technology, so we take classes, we look at different websites and applications," said Lt. Peter Berkson with UIPD.

No matter how the stalking is done, the impact is strong.

"What I see with students is they'll stop going to activities, they drop out their student organization, they'll skip class because they're afraid," said Linda Stewart Kroon with the Women's Resource & Action Center.

With it being such a growing problem, Kroon says now is when you check your cynicism at the door.

"If a friend or someone you work with says something strange is happening, start by believing them."

If you feel as if you're a victim of stalking, here are some resources both locally and nationally you can use:

www.ncvc.org - 1-800-FYI-CALL
www.rvap.org - 319-335-6001
http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-laws/criminal-stalking-laws-by-state
 
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