What is Harassment?

Harassment is a crime in which a person seeks to harass, annoy, or alarm another person with repeated contact or telephone calls, physical contact, obscene language or gestures.

A person commits harassment when they directly, or indirectly through another person, make a credible threat and in conjunction with that threat, commit any of the following activities:

  • Intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, including physical contact of any kind (striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise touching another person or subjecting them to physical contact).
  • Obscene language or gestures, obscene comments or gestures directed toward a person in a public place.
  • Telephone calls, anonymous or otherwise, in a manner intended to harass, threaten bodily injury, or cause harm to property.
  • Repeated Contacts - The perpetrator contacts a person more than once during inconvenient hours and interferes with a person’s privacy or use of home or property more than once with no purpose.  This includes phone, e-mail, texting, or other electronic forms of communication.
  • The perpetrator follows a person or a member of that person’s immediate family in or around a public place.
  • The perpetrator causes the victim, the victim’s immediate family, or someone with whom the victim is involved in a relationship with, serious emotional distress through following, unwanted communication or contact, or surveillance.  The victim need not receive professional treatment to show serious emotional distress.

Definitions:


Credible Threat:  A threat or physical action that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of his / her life or safety or the safety of their immediate family.

Immediate Family
:  Includes a person’s spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings.

PHASES OF HARASSMENT
Harassment can be a cycle of events or phases (tension building, violence, hearts and flowers) which escalates in frequency and severity and may continue for years.

Tension Building Phase:


  • Phone calls, texts, e-mails, social media messaging, cyber-stalking 
  • Unsolicited letters and/or gifts
  • Threats
  • Watching or following the victim
  • Minor acts of vandalism
  • Increased attempts to control the victim
  • Psychological terrorism

Explosive or Acutely Violent Phase:


  • Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Acute acts of vandalism
  • Violence against the victim or victim's family
  • Murder-suicide 

Hearts and Flowers Phase:

 
The perpetrator may temporarily stop the stalking in an attempt to make the victim complacent about safety.  This is a common strategy used by stalkers, so it is important the victim continues to practice personal safety.

The Cycle is Repeated, Escalating in Frequency and Severity


  • Can continue for years.
  • Although rare, perpetrators can escalate to murder/suicide after the cycle has been repeated many times, and it is apparent that all of their attempts at coercion have failed.
  • Perpetrator sometimes abandons his/her current victim and redirects their fixation to a new victim(s) who is not yet alert to their behavior.

For More Information:

If you need law enforcement assistance, call Broomfield Police Department Information at 303.438.6400. If you feel you are in imminent danger, call 911.

For information regarding protection orders. contact Broomfield Combined Courts Protection Order Clinic at 720.887.2179.

For further information on additional services:
Broomfield Police Department, Victim Services
7 DesCombes Drive
Broomfield, Colorado  80020
303.438.6429 or 303.438.6471
Click here to access community services for dealing with harassment or stalking