The Jones County Sheriff’s Department is aware that being stalked is a scary problem for some residents. And Sheriff Joe Berlin wants residents to know that there’s help available if they are being stalked.

“If you feel that someone may be stalking you, please give us a call at 601-425-3147 and report the crime,” he said. “All stalkers can be dangerous, and intimate-partner stalkers pose the greatest threat to their victims.”

That’s the message that the JCSD is putting out for National Stalking Awareness Month, which is January.

“Stalking is a serious crime that has sadly been made easier by the proliferation of technology and through social media,” Berlin said.

That truth his home in recent weeks when a Chicago-area man reportedly traveled here and broke in the home of a North Laurel woman he’d met online. Jake Stone, 30, reportedly went into the home and whispered in the woman’s ear in the predawn morning hours. He is being held in jail on $550,000 bond.

The JCSD has two victims’ advocates on staff — Deputy Priscilla Pitts and Deputy Melisa Kelland — who are available to assist stalking victims, Berlin said.

Some stalking statistics provided by the JCSD:

  •  One in six women and One in 17 men have experienced stalking victimization in their lifetime;
  • The vast majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, including 57 percent who are current of former intimate partners and 29 percent who are acquaintances. Strangers (15 percent), family members (8 percent) and people of authority (2 percent) make up the balance;
  • One in seven stalking victims changes the location of his or her residence because of the stalking;
  •  Two-thirds of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week. Many pursue daily;
  • Less than 40 percent of stalking victims report the crime to law enforcement.

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