Over the years, recidivism (repeating, or a tendency to relapse) in stalking has not been widely reviewed; even though all studies indicate that those who commit an act of stalking are very likely to repeat with another or the same target at least 40-50% of the time. One of the earlier studies on the topic done by Dr. Barry Rosenfeld of Fordham University, indicated that his research showed that of the population he studied about “49%” re-offended with about “80%” doing so in the first year. (“Recidivism in Stalking and Obsessional Harassment,” 27, no. 3 (June 2003), 251-265, http://stage.web.fordham.edu/images/Undergraduate/psychology/rosenfeld/recividiam.LHB.pdf.
Another very recent study was conducted by Matt R. Nobles, Ph.D, (a diligent researcher) who at the time of the study was associated with Sam Houston State University, (where my books are utilized in one of the criminal justice classes on family violence), now tasked at the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs & Department of Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida. In 2014 Dr. Nobles obtained a grant to conduct research on the topic of Stalking Recidivism. I recently was able to contact him concerning this issue. Dr. Nobles advised that he also had formulated that stalkers reviewed in his population, do in fact stalk on more than one occasion at least “43%” of the time. He also commented that he found that many of those he reviewed in the study that exhibited true stalking behavior were rarely charged with that crime, which he found somewhat troubling. We indicated that we oftentimes found that to be the case for a variety of reasons some of which we discussed in our last blog entry concerning fewer and fewer stalking cases being prosecuted.
In short, law enforcement needs to be clearly aware that a great number of stalkers will in fact re-offend. Therefore, training and inmate custodial programs need to be tailored with that in mind. The victims of stalking should also be aware of this problem.