U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

A Sign of the Crimes: Examining Officers’ Identification of, and Arrest for, Stalking in Domestic Violence Complaints

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 23 Issue: 4 Dated: 2020 Pages: 500–526
Date Published
May 2020
27 pages

Since few studies have examined officer decisionmaking in domestic violence (DV) complaints that involve stalking, the current study used the focal-concerns perspective to identify the legal and extra-legal factors associated with officers' identification of, and arrest for, stalking in DV complaints.


Based on the examination of a statewide sample of 230 DV complaints in Rhode Island, the study found that nearly one in four suspects were arrested for stalking in DV complaints (25.2 percent). Stalking acknowledgment was associated with the location of the offense, prior police involvement, and the total number of offenses committed. Officers were more likely to arrest suspects for stalking in DV complaints when the victim was willing to cooperate. Support for the focal-concerns perspective varied according to the type of decision. Avenues for future research, as well as theoretical and practical implications, are discussed. 82 references (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: May 1, 2020