RICHMOND (WRIC) - This month, the president is calling on Americans to fight a potentially dangerous crime by learning more about it.
Stalking affects 6.6 million people a year.
Fatima Smith, who works with the YWCA, a domestic violence support center, says stalking is serious and should be treated that way.
"I think sometimes people just brush it under the rug," she says.
It happens whenever someone repeatedly gives unwanted attention to a person to the point that they feel fear.
"Controlling where you go…who you go with…calling you non-stop…or calling you when you don't want calls, following you."
Sometimes it can even be deadly.
The Stalking Resource Center says 54 percent of women murdered by their stalkers had reported it to police, which is why smith recommends putting together a stalker safety plan to protect yourself.
Keep a phone nearby at all times, rely on trusted people to call authorities if the stalker shows up and change your daily routines and routes.
With technology and social media used heavily these days, it's also important to make sure personal information is hidden online. Keep a log of any stalking behavior such as e-mails and phone messages.
Many area organizations can help people create a safety plan, including some law enforcement agencies.
The YWCA offers a 24-hour crisis hotline at 804-643-0888.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond