DAVENPORT, Iowa---According to the Stalking Resource Center, 7.5 million people are stalked every year in the United States.
In the Quad City area alone last year, 383 people turned to Family Resources in Davenport to get away.
“It’s all about power and control and so knowing where a victim is or a survivor is, is one more tool in a perpetrator’s tool box,” says Nicole Cisne Durbin, program service manager at Family Resources.
Family Resources will be hosting several events throughout October to raise domestic violence awareness.
The idea is to show people how difficult getting away from a victimizer can be.
“It doesn’t allow the survivor to have any privacy to be able to start their lives over,” she says.
This year, Iowa lawmakers added the use of GPS trackers as a crime if used in cases of stalking or abuse for repeat criminals.
Private investigator, Darwin Rittgers says the addition to the law is essential, because stalkers are getting more high tech.
“Cell phones are being used to track people more and more all the time…That’s how technology has evolved here, you just have to stay a step ahead,” says Rittgers.
If convicted, repeat offenders will be denied parole or work release until they serve at least one year behind bars.
The maximum sentence for some cases of domestic violence is five years in prison.
In the meantime, Investigator Rittgers says there are a few things you can do to stay one step ahead of a stalker.
If you suspect someone may be using your cell phone to track you, take it to an expert.
If they can’t give you the answers you’re looking for…. I typically just tell (clients) to replace the phone,” says Rittgers.
He also suggests taking your car to a mechanic to look under your car for any hidden GPS trackers.
They can be as large as the palm of your hand, or as small as a garage opener.
And to always contact the police, if you ever feel threatened.