On January 1, 1993, Michigan joined 28 other states by criminalizing stalking behavior in an effort to protect victims of harassment and put an end to stalking. When Governor John Engler signed Public Acts 251, 260, 261, and 262 of 1992, he provided Michigan citizens with the strongest anti-stalking laws in the nation. Due to the fact that much of the conduct of the typical non-assaultive stalker is not illegal, the legislature took extreme caution to draft a definition of stalking that will be easy to use and will not infringe on the constitutional or other rights of citizens.
Stalking Is Defined as:
"...a 'willful course of conduct' involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, 'harassed', or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested." Michigan Penal Code MCLA 750.411 h.
In this definition, "willful course of conduct" refers to a pattern of behavior made up of a series of two or more separate and noncontinuous acts which share the same purpose. The term "harassed" is defined as repeated contact without permission, resulting in emotional distress.
You Are Being Stalked
Exercise your legal rights:
Get an anti-stalking restraining order from your local circuit court (this order states that the stalker is to have no contact with the victim; if violated, criminal penalties will follow). This will not only protect you, but also assist the law enforcement agency in enforcing the anti-stalking law. It also increases the penalties should the stalker violate the restraining order. [MCLA 600. 2950]
You may also bring a civil action against your stalker. This allows you to sue him or her for any damage they have done, your emotional harm, and may entitle you to exemplary damages and legal fees as well. [MCLA 600.2954]
As a victim, your best weapon against stalkers is the local law enforcement agency. They are a means of protection as well as a source for referrals. However, it is also important to have support from your friends and/or family during this emotionally distressing event.
Do not minimize the danger of being stalked - too many people have already been killed. Take action and survive!
What to Do if...
Remember, you neither wanted nor deserved to be stalked. You are the victim, not the criminal. Suggestions of what to do if stalked are listed below. Every situation is different, so there are no set guidelines. Use your own judgement as to what actions to take. Communicate to the stalker that you do not want any contact with him/her. Report to your local law enforcement agency that you are a victim of stalking, whether or not you plan to file formal charges. Build your case against the stalker by providing the police with any or all of the following:
Documentation (personal journal or diary) of the stalker's activities
Taped recording(s) of threatening telephone calls.
Videotape of stalker's actions.
Basic identifying information (i.e. license plate number, make of car, personal appearance).
List of contacts with the stalker (i.e. time, place, what was said, letters received).
Stalking Takes Many Forms
According to the anti-stalking laws, a person can be charged with stalking for willfully and repeatedly contacting another individual, without permission, causing that person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. Under these laws, assailants could be charged with stalking for repeatedly:
Following or appearing within the sight of another.
Approaching or confronting another individual in a public or private place.
Appearing at the work place or residence of another.
Entering or remaining on an individual's property.
Contacting by telephone.
Sending mail or electronic mail.
Who Are the Victims?
Unfortunately, stalking is not a rare or unusual activity. Anyone can be a victim of stalking - ordinary citizens or celebrities. According to the below listed statistics, your chance of being a victim of stalking is high, especially if you are a woman. One out of 20 adults will be stalked in their lifetime. One-third of women in domestic violence shelters are victims of stalking.
Stalking is a misdemeanor offense. When individuals are convicted of stalking, they have the following punishment [MCLA 750.411h]:
Up to one year imprisonment, or
Up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
Up to five years probation.
The order of probation may include an order to:
Stop stalking anyone.
Stop having any contact with the victim.
Be evaluated to determine the need for psychological or social counseling (at the stalker's expense).
Aggravated stalking is a felony and involves at least one of the following [MCLA 750.411i]:
One or more threats to kill or physically harm an individual - or a member of an individual's household or family - that causes the individual hearing the threat to fear for his or her safety or the safety of another. The violation of a condition of a pre-trial release or condition of probation or bond for stalking.
When an individual is convicted of aggravated stalking, the punishment is:
Up to five years imprisonment, or
Up to $10,000 in fines, or both.
Any term of years probation (including life), but not less than five years probation.
The violation of a restraining order:
A repeat offense.
The order of the probation is the same as that of the misdemeanor, with the following addition. The stalker is not allowed contact with the victim's family members or with people in the victim's household. Anyone can be a stalker - someone you know well, a casual acquaintance, or a total stranger. Sometimes stalkers are former romantic partners of their victims.
Victims can take precautions such as:
Travel with friends.
Do not walk alone.
Change your telephone number to an unlisted number.
Vary the times and routes you take to work or to frequently visited places.
Notify your family and friends, and explain the situation to your employer so that they may protect you at work.
For further information, contact your local law enforcement agency or any of the following:
National Center for Victims of Crime (800) 394-2255
Larceny from vehicles in Meridian Township is a problem. No area is immune from this crime. Larcenies occur in residential settings such as apartment complexes and subdivisions. They also occur in commercial areas, including malls, and professional office complexes. You can take preventive measures to reduce your vulnerability to this crime.
Whether you leave your car for a minute or for several hours, roll up the windows, lock it, and take the key.
Park in busy, well-lighted areas.
Keep packages or valuables in the trunk. If you leave anything in the car, make certain it is covered and out of sight.
Purchase stereo components, CBs, or cellular phones that can be removed from their brackets and placed in more secure locations upon parking.
Use tape deck lock mounts and locking gas caps.
Engrave items of value. Record serial and model numbers and keep them where they can be found later.
Do not leave the vehicle title, credit cards, gas cards, or checkbooks in the car.
Car alarms can alert others and scare the thief.
Auto theft is a serious crime that is on the increase. One car is stolen every 19 seconds in the U.S. More than 2/3 of all auto thefts take place at night, and over half occur in residential areas. The thief who drives your car away is 200 times more likely to have a serious accident with it than you. Most auto thefts can be prevented. Do not make it easy for professional thieves or joy riders to take your car.
Park in well-lighted, busy areas.
Lock your car and close your windows.
Never leave your keys with the vehicle, even for a moment.
Never leave an identification tag on your key ring.
Don't hide an extra car key under the floor mat or under the hood.
Park with front wheels turned sharply to the curb to make it difficult for thieves to tow your car away.
Consider installing a car alarm that activates a siren, horn or lights when the vehicle is tampered with.
Use steering column locks.
Install a hidden kill switch to prevent the car from starting unless turned on.
Use smooth tapered door locks that a wire or coat hanger cannot unlock.
Although you consider yourself a careful driver, even you can be faced with an emergency.
Common sense and these tips may help protect you from danger.
If your vehicle breaks down, get off the roadway and out of the way of traffic.
If you have a flat tire, drive to a safe place. Tires can be replaced.
Turn on your emergency flashers, use flares, raise your hood and tie a handkerchief to the antenna or door handle.
Consider purchasing a cellular phone.
Use "Help Call Police" signs. Chances are good that someone with a cellular phone will call the police for you.
If motorists stop to render assistance, send them for help.
You should stay with your vehicle.
Drive with your windows up and your doors locked.
Keep your purse and valuables out of sight.
At intersections, leave room between you and the vehicle in front, so that you are not blocked from leaving in a hurry. Keep the vehicle in gear.
If someone is following you or you are involved in a fender bender and you feel uncomfortable staying at the scene, go to the police or fire department, a convenience store, or a gas station. Do not drive home. Know the safe spots in advance.
Travel well-lighted, busy streets.
Park in busy, well-lighted areas, particularly at night or if you expect to come back to your car at night.
What You Can Do To Help
Successful crime prevention is a partnership between the community and the police. We want and need your help. Make sure your Neighborhood Watch group is aware of the crimes occurring in your neighborhood. If your area is not organized, contact Meridian Township Police to learn how to start a Neighborhood Watch group. Follow the tips and suggestions you have read in this brochure and share this brochure with co-workers and neighbors. Report all crime. Knowing when and where crimes are occurring is important for us.
Vacation Check List
Vacations provide burglars with plenty of time to enter your home, remove large items, and search leisurely for hidden valuables. If you are planning a vacation, take precautions to protect your home while you are away. The key is to create an illusion of everyday activity. Following this checklist will make it appear that someone is home, which is your first defense against burglary.
Ask us to check your home and patrol your neighborhood more closely while you are gone.
Stop mail and newspaper deliveries, or have a trusted neighbor collect them while you are away so that they do not accumulate.
Also ask your neighbor to remove any advertising flyers that are deposited in your mailbox or around your door, driveway, or lawn.
Secure all doors, windows, pet entrances, and garage doors.
Transfer valuables to a safety deposit box.
Place timers on indoor lamps and appliances to illuminate your home at night, and set timers to turn on radios and televisions randomly during the day.
Check that no bulbs are burned out on your indoor lamps, outdoor lighting fixtures, or low voltage lighting system.
Arrange to have your landscaping maintained or your driveways and walks shoveled.
Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open to maintain a normal appearance.
Have one trusted friend check your home, inside and out, each day.
Remove messages from your telephone answering machine daily so that the "beep" is always short. And do not indicate on your message that you are on vacation
Property Check Request
Personal Protection Orders
Personal Protection Orders For Victims of Family Violence, Dating Violence, and/or Stalking
Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) are orders of the Circuit Court that forbid or require a person to do something.
The person filing a PPO is the plaintiff, and the person you file a PPO against is the defendant.
The PPO may order the defendant not to:
Enter your property.
Assault, attack, beat, or wound you.
Remove children from you if you have legal custody.
Interfere at your place of employment.
Interfere with your efforts to remove your children or personal property.
Contact you by telephone.
Send you mail (including electronic mail).
Purchase or possess a firearm.
Penalties for Violating a PPO:
Maximum 93 days in jail and/or
Maximum $500 fine
Two Types of PPOs
To Qualify for a Restraining PPO, you MUST establish. One of the following relationships with the defendant:
A current or former spouse
A current or former dating relationship
Reside or resided in the same household
A child in common
To Qualify for a Stalking PPO, you are not required to show a relationship with the defendant. However, you must establish that the defendant has shown a pattern of behavior, including 2 separate incidents, that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested,
and that actually causes the person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
If you do not meet these requirements, you may be eligible for a "Peace Bond," available at the District Court Clerk's Office. Peace Bonds are used for disputes not covered by PPOs, and they can require a person to stay away from you and/or your property.
How to File a Personal Protection Order
Contact a "PPO Advocate" at (517) 483-6545 who will give assistance in the filing process listed below:
Complete both a Complaint and a PPO form.
Provide detailed information on the forms, including:
Date(s), time(s), and location(s) of the incident(s).
Details of injuries.
Names of witnesses.
Helpful information to include (but not required):
A police report.
A doctor's report.
Pictures of injuries or destruction of property.
Lease or mortgage agreement.
Custody, support and/or visitation order.
Affidavits from witnesses.
Clarifying the Myths Surrounding Domestic
Myth 1: Battering is rare, and it only occurs within low income families.
Fact 1: Battery is VERY COMMON among ALL CLASSES of people. The FBI estimates that a woman is battered every 9 seconds in the United States. As domestic homicide occurs every 8 days in Michigan! For women aged 15 to 44, domestic violence is the LEADING CAUSE OF INJURY!
Myth 2: Drinking causes battering.
Fact 2: Drinking does NOT CAUSE battering. Thinking that your assailant will stop beating you if they would "just stop drinking" is not the answer.
Myth 3: Stress causes domestic assault.
Fact 3: MOST people who are under extreme stress DO NOT assault their partners.
Myth 4: "If I had made dinner on time, this would not have happened. If I had come home on time, this would not have happened. If I had kept the children quiet, this would not have happened."
Fact 4: The abuse is NOT YOUR FAULT! Thinking that you can "change" the assailant or the assailant's behavior, is only false hope.
What to Do If There is a Violation
If the defendant violates the PPO, immediately call your local police or 911. When the police arrive, they may arrest the defendant for violating the PPO. For further assistance with PPO violations, contact the PPO Coordinator's Office.
Other available resources are:
National Domestic Violence Hot Line (800) 799-SAFE
EVE Inc. (formerly known as Council Against Domestic Assault) (517) 372-5572 (24-hour Crisis Line)
Veteran Memorial Courthouse
313 W Kalamazoo
Lansing, MI 48933
Available Monday thru Friday by appointment
Hours of operation:
8 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
A Service Provided by the Capital Area Family Violence Coordinating Council
Domestic Violence (CARE)
A Community Response to Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is criminal behavior. Services have increased in recent years to meet the magnitude of this devastating reality, but much more needs to be done. Battering occurs across all cultural, educational, racial, and socioeconomic groups, and in heterosexual, gay, and lesbian relationships. Men can be battered, but in 95% of all reported cases, it involves a woman being battered by a man. Domestic violence involves one person controlling another through the use of violence, sexual assault, threats, emotional abuse, stalking, using children, legal harassment, and isolation. While domestic violence is a “hidden crime” it affects 25-35% of the population.
Children in violent homes carry a painful burden. Children who see or hear their parents being yelled at, pushed, hit or threatened are hurt and scared. Many times people who abuse their partners also abuse their children. These children learn to accept family violence as a way of life. They grow up believing violence is normal behavior. Those who come from violent homes claim they will never behave that way, but often resort to violence when faced with problems of a relationship, marriage and parenting.
What C.A.R.E. is:
The mission of the C.A.R.E. (Capital Area Response Effort) is to reduce family violence in Ingham County by drawing on the resources of various community groups to intervene in both the short-term and the long-term with families affected by domestic violence. Through the program, volunteers are on-call to assist persons who have been victims of domestic violence. Currently, staff and volunteers are able to provide assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Response Team members volunteer their time to provide immediate assistance to survivors. The volunteers are trained specifically in domestic violence laws, victim’s rights, community resources, and medical referrals. Their response is immediate and intense; volunteers respond to the home within 30 minutes of the assailants arrest, (and only when an arrest has occurred) and remain with the survivor until it is deemed appropriate for them to leave. They help survivors assess their risk of further injury or homicide, develop a safety plan, obtain safe shelter, and access available community resources. CARE responds when an arrest has been made in the City of Lansing, East Lansing, Lansing Township, Meridian Township, and Michigan State University.
The information CARE members provide may help to reduce the physical and psychological consequences of the assault. The Response Team helps survivors work through the immediate crisis and plan for a safe future.
In addition to the immediate contact, CARE staff and volunteers provide additional follow-up contact with survivors. Continual assessment may increase the likelihood that survivors will get the assistance they need.
The Role of Volunteers
Volunteers play a key role in the efforts of the C.A.R.E. program to reduce family violence. While there are many hard-working and dedicated volunteers already working in teams, more volunteers are needed to expand the program.
Prospective volunteers must apply to the address listed below. In addition to the application, volunteers will be expected to:
Provide Two References
Participate in a Short Interview
Complete a Police Ride-a-Long
Agree to a Review of Criminal History and Driving Records
Complete Approximately 40 Hours of Training (Held Over 2 Weekends)
Monthly in-service Training/supervision Meetings Once Volunteering
If accepted as a volunteer at the completion of the training, volunteers will then be asked to be on call (via pager) approximately once every six weeks. Volunteer shifts consists of being on call Thursday and Saturday, or Friday and Sunday so assistance can be provided to victims throughout the weekend. CARE staff responds to domestic violence victims during weekday hours.
Volunteers are asked to commit for at least six months, although one year is preferred.
Making a Referral
C.A.R.E. was developed specifically for the purpose of assisting victims of domestic violence immediately following an act of violence in which the police have arrested the offender. Police Officers make the request for a C.A.R.E. team response. However, other help is available at all times for victims of domestic violence.
EVE House (formerly known as Council Against Domestic Assault) in Ingham County (517) 372-5572
R.A.V.E. (Relief After Violent Encounters) in Clinton County (989) 725-9444
S.I.R.E.N. in Eaton County (517) 543-0748
National Domestic Violence Helpline (800) 799-SAFE
For further information or to get an application to volunteer, please contact:
3400 S. Cedar
Lansing, Michigan 48910
Care is supported in part by crime victim assistance grant award #40457-1 awarded to the city of lansing by the michigan crime victim services commission. The e grant award is $42,963, 80% of the project comes from the crime victim’s fund established by the victim of crime act of 1984, the city of lansing provides the 20% match whose time valued at $10,776.
This project was supported by grant project #70864-1k99 awarded by the bureau of justice assistance, office of justice programs, us department of justice. Points of view or opinions contained within this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the us department of justice.
Organizing Neighborhood Watch
When people help...
Neighborhood Watch involves citizen participation in a self-help battle against crime in your neighborhood. The Neighborhood Watch program will make you aware of the steps you can take to make your home more secure and how you can help make the Meridian Township Police Department more effective in its fight against crime. A Neighborhood Watch program is the first logical step for any community organizing against crime. Neighborhood Watch requires minimal effort and gets people caring about and talking to one another.
How Does Neighborhood Watch Work?
Neighborhood Watch Coordinator
The Neighborhood Watch coordinator is the liaison between the neighborhood and police. The coordinator is the leader who helps the neighborhood organize its Neighborhood Watch program. The coordinator recruits block captains, develops a notification system, and initiates its use.
Block captains canvass their area of responsibility and explain the Neighborhood Watch Program to residents. Block captains obtain names, addresses, and contact information of those residents who wish to be Neighborhood Watch members. They help the coordinator design the notification system and help activate it when necessary.
The notification system used should be one that disributes information throughout the community as quick as possible. Examples would be email alerts, telephone tree, Twitter, Facebook, etc. When making a decision on the type of notification system to use, one that gives the most immediate response to the most people is preferred. After the Police Department has received the notification system plan, Neighborhood Watch signs will be installed at the entrances of the neighborhood.
Neighborhood Watch coordinators may be alerted by Meridian Police of criminal activity that has occurred within the watch areas. This is done through the community police officer and Nixle. The coordinator passes this information along to the block captains who, in turn, contact residents via the notification system. Within a very short time, an entire neighborhood can be alerted to a problem within an area.
Training sessions for your Neighborhood Watch group may be scheduled with the neighborhood officer. Professional instruction will be given on how to better secure your home, what suspicious activity is, how to identify someone, and how to report a crime to the police.
What Each Member Can Do:
Get to know your neighbors and become familiar with their routines. Remember... this is a partnership.
Look after your neighbor's home when they are gone. Ask them to look after yours.
Be suspicious. Report unusual or suspicious behavior to the police.
Write down descriptions of people or vehicles. License plate numbers are important.
Keep in regular contact with your neighborhood officer, participate in the notification system, and sign up for Nixle.
What is Nixle?
Nixle delivers neighborhood-level public safety notifications by text, e-mail, and the web. Nixle is simple, trusted, and available at no cost. The Department recommends the use of Nixle to receive important and timely information. Go to www.nixle.com and follow the directions to register.
How to Report
Call 911: For assaults in progress, robbery, gun shots, burglarly in progress, larceny from auto in progress, fire or explosion, auto accidents involving injury, suspicious person, a person with weapons, odor of gas, or injuries.
Call 332-6526 for property crimes that occurred previously, auto accidents with no injury, abandoned vehicles, loud parties, or any incident not life threatening.
When Calling the Police:
Give your name, address, and phone number.
Briefly describe the event - what happened, when, where, and who was involved.
Important Vehicle Information: License plate number, make, model, body style, color, special descriptions (stickers, dents, or decals)
Neighborhood Watch - a Self-help Education Program to Resist Criminal Attack in Your Neighborhood:
By promoting neighborhood unity and friendship
By attacking the attitude of non-involvement
By learning to recognize criminal activity
By properly reporting such activities to the police
By taking advantage of Operation Identification and security inspections by police
If you are interested in obtaining additional information regarding Neighborhood Watch, contact the Meridian Township Police Department at 853-4800.
Put a Thief Out of Business, Join Neighborhood Watch
Community Alert - Nixle
Meridian Township has launched a new Community Information Service designed to deliver important and timely information to residents using the latest technology. This service, created by Nixle, LLC delivers trustworthy and important neighborhood-level public safety and community event notifications by web, e-mail, and cell phone. Nixle is simple, trusted and available at no cost.Residents can now take advantage of Nixle. Nixle is a community information service that alerts you to public safety threats and community matters via web, e-mail, and cell phone.
Sign up at www.nixle.com to register. Register now and learn more at www.nixle.com. Then share this new service with your friends and neighbors to spread the word. We are very excited to have you experience it for yourself. Nixle is a new community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. Its authenticated service connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and through Web access. Craig Mitnick, the founder and CEO of Nixle, said Nixle differs from current services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, which provide unauthenticated platforms for connections. Nixle solves that problem by providing a single standardized service for consumers to receive immediate and credible neighborhood-level public safety and community information.“Nixle is a first-of-its-kind tool for communities that need to provide critical information to their residents,” said Craig Mitnick, founder and CEO. “When it comes to public safety information, you have to trust the source. Residents of Meridian Township can rest easy that the local messages they receive are authentic.” Nixle is a community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. It is the first authenticated and secure service that connects police agencies to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and via Web access. Nixle has secured a partnership with Nlets (the International Justice and Public Safety Network), allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories. Privately funded Nixle, which has offices in New Jersey and California, is available at no cost to all police agencies and residents. For more information, visit www.nixle.com.
OK2SAY is a program designed to empower Michigan students, parents, school personnel, community mental health service programs, and law enforcement to share and respond to student safety threats.
A Culture of Silence
In the majority of violent incidents that occur in our schools, someone other than the wrongdoer knows of a threat before it’s carried out but fails to report it. Often, students choose to keep quiet because they fear retaliation or stigmatization by their peers. The result is a culture of silence in which students suffer harm that could have been prevented if another had chosen to speak out.
A Commitment to Safety
The goal of OK2SAY is to stop harmful behavior before it occurs by encouraging students to report threatening behavior to caring adult authorities who can help. Featuring a comprehensive communication system that facilitates tip submissions through telephone, text, website, e-mail, and multimedia technologies, OK2SAY enables Michigan residents to confidentially report student safety threats to trained program operators, who forward tips on to local law enforcement agencies, school officials, or community mental health service programs for a timely response.
A Call to Say
Ultimately, it’s about early intervention and prevention. When students make the courageous decision to break the code of silence and speak out against harmful behavior, they equip authorities with the information needed to respond to threats and avert tragedy. And that’s a good thing for Michigan schools, communities, and families.
So, let’s stand up for student safety. Remember: it’s OK2SAY.