January is National Stalking Awareness Month and the Natrona County Sheriff's Office is posting various facts and figures to better educate the community about the dangers of stalking.

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One of the biggest points the NCSO has relayed to the community is the fact that the most common tactic used to stalk victims is unwanted phone calls.

This tactic, according to the NCSO, accounts for 76% of stalking of women, and 75% of stalking for men.

Text messaging, or emails, account for 56% for women and 60% for men.

Messaging is the second highest method of stalking for men, but the second highest method of stalking for women is when somebody approaches them, or shows up unwantedly.

60% of stalking incidents for women involve them being followed, or watched. This is true for men about 36% of the time.

In 23% of stalking cases for women, the stalker sneaks into their home or car and leaves a sign of their presence. This is true for 21% of stalking cases of men.

But who actually are stalkers? The Natrona County Sheriff's Office has shared information with the community about that, as well.

According to the NCSO, stalkers are, more often than not, either acquaintances or current or former partners; acquaintances 42% of the time, and current or former partners 40% of the time.

"In popular culture, stalkers are often portrayed as shadowy strangers or mysterious secret admirers," the NCSO wrote. "In reality, the vast majority of offenders know their victims and are primarily intimate partners or acquaintances."

Other categories of stalkers include strangers (19%), family members (8%), and those involved in brief encounters (8%). People are stalked by Persons of Authority 4% of the time.

All of these facts are startling, but the fact that 40% of victims are stalked by current or former partners is the most interesting.

According to the Stalking Awareness website, 57% of intimate partner stalking victims are actually stalked during the relationship.

"There is a real and frighteningly significant connection between stalking and intimate partner violence," the website stated. "Stalking often co-occurs with intimate partner violence and can be an indicator of other forms of violence. Stalking can be a way to exert power and control during and/or after an abusive relationship."

The Natrona County Sheriff's Office will continue to offer information about stalking to the community throughout the month of January.

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