Stalking indicators up in 2016
The 40 court petitions seeking protection from abuse or protection from stalking filed in county court last year exceeded the number filed in any of the previous 10 years.
2014 was the lowest year, with 17 petitions filed, according to a Kansas Bureau of Investigation report released last week.
Hillsboro police chief Dan Kinning said officers ordinarily will document the first stalking incident, but are more likely to seek a warrant to arrest the perpetrator if the victim appears to be in imminent danger.
“It kind of depends on the circumstances,” Kinning said. “They don’t need to wait for the second one, they can go ahead and contact us the first time. That needs to be documented.”
Although stalking incidents often take place between people who were previously in a romantic relationship, that’s not always the case, Kinning said.
“A lot of times it’s someone who thinks there was a romantic relationship,” Kinning said.
In order for an incident to qualify for criminal charges to be filed, it has to target a specific person, causing them to fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family, Kinning said.
“It doesn’t have to be a personal communication between the two people,” Kinning said. “It can be threatening them to another person, or damaging their property.”
Kinning said officers usually recommend the victim seek a restraining order from the court.
“We have a packet we give to them,” Kinning said.
Officers also provide contact information for Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence offices. The county is served by SafeHope, which has an office in Marion.
SafeHope, 422 E. Main St., provides provides crisis intervention; personal, medical, court, and law enforcement advocacy; emergency accommodations; shelter; counseling; a support group; awareness and education; and parent and child advocacy for victims of sexual and domestic violence and stalking.
KBI’s report also shows 32 domestic violence incidents reported to law enforcement in the county during 2016 with 18 arrests, but provides only two previous years’ data. Twenty-six incidents and 19 arrests were reported in 2015 and 40 incidents with 33 arrests were reported in 2014.
Last modified Nov. 1, 2017