Police Chief

Ask the Chief

“Ask The Chief” is a weekly post allowing readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in the city of Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance our community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs, and the Department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us. 

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Sep 21

July 16, 2018 - Observe vs Stalk

Posted on September 21, 2018 at 12:40 PM by Melissa Hill

Ask the Chief 

Q:  What are the key differences between observing someone's behavior as opposed to actually stalking them?

 Image of a woman walking across a bridge.

This is an interesting question as the answer will depend on the situation and the intention of the behavior.  First, dictionary.com describes “observing” as to see, watch, perceive, or notice:  to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something.  This by itself is not a crime, however, if the observation becomes “harassing, annoying, obsessive or intrusive” it may become a crime depending on the situation.  

Stalking on the other hand is described in Minnesota Statute 609.749  stalking " means to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, and causes this reaction on the part of the victim regardless of the relationship between the actor and victim. 

If you are the victim of someone else’s conduct that is creating an atmosphere of fear or intimidation within the City of Red Wing, you can report this to the non-emergency phone number at 651-385-3155. 


1.  Dictionary.com definition of observe, located online at:  http://www.dictionary.com/browse/observing?s=t 

2.  Minnesota Statute, 609.749, Stalking, located online at:  https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2017/cite/609.749?keyword_type=all&keyword=stalking