When John Carlin of Dearborn, Mi., began receiving photos on his cell phone last year of his live-in companion with other people, he didn't realize he was being cyber-stalked, says the Detroit News. Carlin says he turned to police after finding an online ad with his photo that encouraged men to come to his home for sex, but got no help stopping the harassment. “Crazy people don't quit,” said Carlin, 38. Detroit-area authorities say they're getting more complaints of online stalking, as social networking sites and cell phones make it easier to connect with people – and harass them.
The Wayne County Sheriff's Office is getting eight times more cyber-stalking complaints than two years ago. In Dearborn, police saw cyber-stalking complaints rise from 12 in 2008 to 21 in 2009. “Cyber crime or anything else, our protocol is we will respond,” Dearborn Lt. Neil Myres said. Recent high-profile cases such as the suicide of a Rutgers University student, whose intimate encounter with another man was broadcast online, have led advocates to push back against abusive cyber behavior. Nationally, the number of people stalked is estimated at 3.4 million, according to a survey based on the 2006 Supplemental Victimization Survey of stalking behaviors, released in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Justice. One in four – or about 850,000 – were victims of cyber stalking.