Officers warn women about public stalking after recent incident

Published 3:58 pm Friday, October 4, 2019

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Jennifer Hodges was shopping in Home Depot Wednesday afternoon when she became aware of a man video recording her. Unfortunately, this action occurs all too often. But, with the help of Hodges, Bainbridge Public Safety was able to confront the offender.

Hodges alerted the manager, David Ross about what had occurred and he contacted BPS. Ross kept an eye on the suspect and was able to provide a description to BPS, who spoke to the suspect about his actions.

BPS Sergeant Charles Strickland said that women and children are some of the most vulnerable to these types of actions and men take advantage of that.

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“Pay attention in public,” Strickland said. “When you notice someone who’s noticed you, be on your toes.”

Strickland said to never confront someone who is believed to be filming or snapping photographs, because he may be with others or a larger organization.

Instead, Strickland suggested doing exactly what Hodges did. However, he suggests if the victim is able, they should video the person or get a quick photograph of them so officers can post it on social media to make women aware.

Strickland emphasized that if snapping a photograph or videoing would put the woman at risk, then certainly don’t risk their life to help.

Following the gaining of evidence, seek out a manager and have them dial 911, Strickland said. He also asks that the victim wait, so they can be a witness and help put together details.

Strickland also wants women to never be concerned about calling 911 after an incident like this.

“It is better to be safe than paranoid in a situation like this,” Strickland said.

Strickland said in these types of cases there is the worst case scenario, which is that this man may be following the woman or child and filming them as a target for a human trafficking operation or they may just have a fetish for recording women. In this particular case, it was the latter, but one can never be too careful.

“A lot of people think it can never happen here, but it can,” Strickland said.

He urges women to be aware of their surroundings, wherever they may be and just be mindful of who is paying them attention.