Eau Claire (WQOW) -- January is National Stalking Awareness month. Local authorities want everyone to understand what stalking can look like and just how serious of a crime it is.
"Kind of that repeated text messages, those repeated phone calls. Individuals showing up at their residence or place of employment, you know, numerous times. That can, and sometimes does, qualify as stalking," Officer Bridget Coit, with the Eau Claire Police Department, explained to News 18.
The Eau Claire Police Department also said officers deal with a decent amount of stalking cases every year, many stemming from domestic violence situations. Recently, a Minnesota man was arrested for allegedly stalking a man in Eau Claire.
In the era of social media, it's never been easier to follow someone online. And sometimes that behavior can escalate in real life.
"It becomes more aggressive and more obsessive and they continue to follow people not only through their phone or through their computer or through their Facebook, but they continue to follow them in person," Jeff Wilson, a crisis response specialist in Eau Claire County, said. "So that's why I tell people it's very important to realize who's around you."
Police also said technology has made investigating stalking somewhat easier, because it's easier to pull evidence of repeated contact from social media and phone records.
If you suspect you're being stalked, contact authorities right away. For more information on how to file a restraining order in Eau Claire County, click here.
There are multiple local resources to help victims, like the Bolton Refuge House in Eau Claire (715-834-9578) and the Family Support Center in Chippewa Falls (715-723-1138). Nationally, the Stalking Resource Center provides in-depth information about stalking and help to victims.