Private Investigations and Personal Security/stalking


I recently discovered a digital voice activated recorder on a vent of my house. when I picked it up it had a cord going into the crawl space of my house. when I got under my house the cord was a microphone and some one had drilled a hole into my floor under my bed in the master bed room. The recorder appeared to be a 8 MB RCA redorder with a lock so we could not access any info. we called the police and they have checked for finger prints and have had no luck. they are currently planning to ask the person who sprays the house for bugs and is a little odd per my wife some questions as well as a neighbor who apparently has at one time had a thing for my wife. but unless someone confess' then they are done.the neighbor is also the builder of the house. he in the past spent a lot of time at our house and one day his wife came to my office and said she thought her husband and my wife were having a relationship. she had her husbands cell phone record where the previous month they had talked some 300 minutes. this was inappropriate per my wife and the husband. now we don't speak per the neighbors wife. we had some air condition problems thought to be the fault of the installer and the neighbor got a little irate and yelled over some comments made by the a/c guy we hired to fix it. otherwise no speaking. this I mention only due to the extreme interest of the police in this whole situation and the timing of this. as well as the fact he lives next store. My wife is so concerned she wants to move. the neigbors have tried selling there house in the past and can't due to the size and amount they would have to ask. I am wondering how concerned I should be?

I can certainly understand why both you and your wife are upset!  Violations of privacy are very emotional, as well as being an indication of the crime of stalking.  

Whether the behavior actually meets the requirements of your state's stalking law, I could not say, because I am not a lawyer.  But you could look into the issue - most states have information about their laws online, or you can check a web site such as:
Some states require that the person being stalked feel afraid as a result of the stalker's actions; some states require that the stalker make some kind of threat.  Some states include email as a prohibited media for harassment; some states don't mention it.  Every state is different, but all states have laws against stalking.

It would certainly help if the police are able to figure out who is responsible for the recorder.  If they do not, then you and your wife need to decide how to protect your privacy in the future, and whether you should move.

Only about 1/3 of stalkers become violent, and most of those come out of domestic violence situations.  Only a small number of other types of stalkers (predators) escalate to the point of attacking their targets. So, your harasser is just someone who gets a kick out of spying on others in their bedroom, he isn't likely to be violent, but if he is someone who was using that recorder to collect information to help him make a plan to attack you or your wife, that could be dangerous.

Talk to the police about both your neighbor and the bug spray guy, and try to find out if either one has a criminal record or is a registered sex offender.  Knowing what someone has done in the past is often a good indication about what they might be capable of in the future.

Here are some security measures you could take:
Security lights around your home.
Trim bushes to keep people from getting near your house unseen.
Replace door locks; add window locks.
Install a security system.
Have a professional examine your home for electronic bugs every 6 months or so.
You and your wife take a good self-defense class.
Hire a different bug spray company.
Follow general security advice about keeping burglars out; all of those things help with stalkers, too.

All of that would be expensive, but probably less expensive than moving.

You might discuss with your wife whether, if you took some or all of those steps, she would feel safe and secure in that house.  If not, try to find out what would.  If nothing would ease her mind except a change of location, then you may want to move.  If you do move, instituting at least some of those security precautions would help to ensure that you aren't bothered in the future.

 Stay safe,
     Lyn Bates  

Private Investigations and Personal Security

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Lyn Bates


Are you being stalked? I can help evaluate the amount of danger you are in, and can provide very specific suggestions for increasing your safety, and for managing your situation. As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women`s Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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