What to Do if You Think You're Being Stalked While Shopping

If you've been on Facebook, Twitter, or on your phone within the last 24 hours, you've probably seen viral posts where people say they've been stalked while they're out and about in the Midlands.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - People in the Midlands have been posting online that they feel like they're being stalked while they're out shopping, so News 19 found what you should do if you're in that kind of situation.

If you've been on Facebook, Twitter, or on your phone within the last 24 hours, you've probably seen viral posts where people say they've been stalked while they're out and about in the Midlands.

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While police haven't been able to find out if these are real threats or not, we've seen your posts and know how concerned you are about it.

That's why we've come to the Richland County Sheriff's Department to find out what you can do if you're worried.

Captain Harry Polis is part of the Community Action Team for the department.

"It's really easy for things to happen and if you're not paying attention to your surroundings, you're presenting an opportunity for a criminal to victimize you," said Polis.

He says you should always trust your gut.

"If you feel unsafe, chances are good that's somethings probably not right. Your instincts are usually on point. If the hair on your neck stands up and you get that feeling that something might not be right, please dial 9-1-1 and let us know," explained Polis.

While dialing those three numbers should be your first-priority, you can use your phone in another helpful way.

"A lot of times just simply raising your phone and taking a photo is a huge deterrent. Criminals operate under autotomy. They don't want you to know who they are. If you take a picture of them, that's a huge deterrent," said Polis.

Polis says if you’re in an uncomfortable situation, don't stop in your tracks.

"Get out of there. Don't just stand there and wait if you feel like you're in danger. We don't want you to wait if you're in danger. Get out of the situation. We can meet you somewhere else and you can give us the information," said Polis.

Another tip from Polis is to make sure you shop with a group of people.

If you were in a situation and waited because you were unsure if you should call the police, Richland County Deputies say you can still call their non-emergency number.

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