Harvette Williams is a Michigan stalking victim. Kevin Gary — who’d followed her home from a party and paid a maintenance worker $500 for a copy of her apartment key — was trailing her to church, to work and as she dropped her daughters off at school. He called her cell phone up to 40 times a day. Williams pressed charges, and in 2005, Gary received a 5-year sentence for aggravated stalking. She feared what would happen once he was eligible for parole. Realizing there was no law that would track a convicted stalker’s movements, she started calling state legislators, says the Detroit Free Press. Williams, 39, today will watch Gov. Jennifer Granholm sign into law the measure she lobbied to create.
The state is adopting new safeguards because “experience has shown that too often, criminal charges and personal protection orders are not enough to keep someone from harm’s way,” Granholm said. The law requires anyone convicted of aggravated stalking to wear a GPS monitoring device for six to 18 months. The device alerts police if the stalker comes within 10 to 15 miles of predetermined locations, like the victim’s home and workplace. Nationwide, about 1 million women and 370,000 men are stalked annually, says the National Center for Victims of Crime, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.