What is stalking?

 In Emergency: Call RUPD at 713-348-6000 immediately if you or someone you know has had their safety compromised by threat of stalking behaviors. RUPD is here to protect and ensure your safety.  

Stalking is a pattern of any repeated and unwanted conduct directed at a specific person which causes them to feel fear. Such behaviors include unsolicited attention, harassment, threats, or contact directed at the person.  

Stalking is a serious and dangerous crime that can easily escalate into violence. If you or someone you know is being stalked, don’t keep it to yourself, tell someone now.   


 Stalking can include: 

  • sending unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, and/or email
  •  Harassing you through the internet
  •  Following or spying on the you 
  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm you, your friends, relatives, pets, or your property
  • Showing up at a place where they had no reason to be
  • Waiting at places for you; 
  • Leaving unwanted items, presents, or flowers; 
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about you 
  • Other actions that control, track, or frighten you. 

Common Reactions

If you’re being stalked, you may: 

  • Feel fear of what the stalker will do. 
  • Feel vulnerable, unsafe, and not know who to trust. 
  • Feel anxious, irritable, impatient, or on edge. 
  • Feel depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, or angry. 
  • Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things. 
  • Have eating problems, such as appetite loss, forgetting to eat, or overeating. 
  • Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
  • Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don't understand why you are afraid.
  • Lose time from work, class, or performing other normal daily activities as a result of victimization  

Common Characteristics of Stalkers

  • Pursuing their victims at least once per week, many daily.
  • Using more than one means of approach.
  • Using or threatening to use weapons to harm victims.
  • Have stalked before.
  • Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly.
  • Most stalkers have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. However, a stalker can be someone you know well or not at all.
  • Most stalking cases involve men stalking women, but men do stalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men. 

If someone you know is being stalked

  •  Listen 
  • Don’t judge them. 
  • Direct them to help 
  • Make sure you’re safe  

If you are being stalked

If you are in immediate danger, call RUPD (713-348-6000) 

  • Go with your gut instincts – if you feel that you’re unsafe, or that a situation is dangerous, you’re probably right.
  • Tell someone – so that they’re aware of what’s going on, and can help you if you need it
  • Make a safety plan – that helps you avoid dangerous situations, or get out of them. This includes making an emergency bag that contains essentials if you need to escape from a living situation quickly. It should include your keys, wallet, cash, ID, clothes, and cell phone.
  • Be aware of the areas that you frequent, and how safe they appear, as well as alternative routes and escapes just in case.
  • Don’t communicate with the stalker if he/she tries to contact you. 
  • Keep evidence of the stalking – including emails, texts, voicemails, letters, notes, injuries, and/or any witness testimony
  • Know your rights – be aware of your legal rights to file a restraining order

Contact RUPD and/or SJP – Rice cares about students’ safety and wellbeing. You have the right the live and learn in a safe educational environment. Rice will work to ensure your privacy, safety, and justice during and after your case.

Common Misconceptions

(Adapted from:  

1) Myth: Only celebrities are stalked.

Fact:The vast majority of stalkingvictims are ordinary citizens. We may hear more about celebrity stalking cases in the media, but1.4 million people are stalked every year in the United States.  

2) Myth: Stalking is creepy but not dangerous.

Fact: Stalking is creepy and dangerous. Three out of four
women who were murdered by an intimate partner had
been previously stalked by the killer. 

3) Myth: Stalking is annoying but not illegal.

Fact: Stalking is a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government.

4) Myth: You can’t be stalked by someone you are still dating.

Fact: If your current girlfriend or boyfriend tracks your every move or follows you around in a way that
causes you fear, that is stalking.

5) Myth: Someone’s only a stalker if he/she is a complete stranger to me.

Fact: Nearly three in four stalking victims say they know their offender. Stalking victims most often identify the stalker as a former intimate partner (22 percent), or a friend, roommate or neighbor (16 percent). Only about one in ten victims is stalked by a stranger.

6) Myth: If you confront the stalker, he’ll go away.

Fact: Stalkers seldom “just stop.” Stalkers can be unreasonable and unpredictable. Confronting or trying to reason with a stalker can be dangerous. In fact, behaviors can turn more and more violent as time goes on. Victims should seek help from advocates, law enforcement, and the courts to intervene to stop the stalking. 


“Stalking.” The National Center for Victims of Crime. Stalking Resource Center.

“Stalking.” The United States Department of Justice.

The Corporate Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS OF STALKING CRIMES REPORT .” Office of Violence Against Women. 13 Jan 2009.

[Katrina Baum et al., (2009). "Stalking Victimization in the United States," (Washington, DC:BJS, 2009).] 

Kris Mohandie et al., "The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers," Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]