Stalking investigations are focused on assessing the ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, ex-spouse, estranged spouse, secret admirer, or mentally unstable individual making efforts to harass and intimidate, or otherwise control your life. Though the legal definition of stalking in California requires the stalker to make a credible threat with the intent to place the victim or victim’s immediate family in fear for their safety (CPC § 646.9), there are many times when individuals continue to direct unwanted attention toward another person without an accompanying direct threat.
Obsessive attention to another person or group which is not accompanied by a direct threat places the victim in reasonable fear for their safety, but stills fall short of the elements of the crime of stalking. In many stalking investigations, the key issue is threat management. A deep profile background investigation is done to identify preexisting issues and any prior arrests or convictions, as past behavior is a strong indicator of future behavior. In some cases, investigative efforts will be directed toward compiling evidence for a felony prosecution. In other cases, efforts will mostly be directed toward security measures to allow the victim to continue to lead a normal lifestyle. In some cases, field interviews, service of temporary restraining orders, service of domestic violence restraining orders, or even deploying teams of investigators for protective intelligence surveillance may be appropriate.
Individual case strategies will vary, however the primary goal is to allow the victim’s to resume his or her normal lifestyle.