Harassing Phone Calls
Annoying or harassing phone calls are a common problem on college campuses. They are many times viewed as mere pranks. State Law considers such activities as Harassment by Communication or Address, a Third Degree Misdemeanor offense.
The Pennsylvania Crimes Code defines the following to be Harassment by Communication or Address:
- Making phone calls without a legitimate purpose.
- Repeatedly making anonymous phone calls.
- Repeatedly phoning at extremely inconvenient hours.
- Repeatedly phoning using offensive, coarse, or obscene language.
Harassment by Communication is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $2500.
If you are receiving annoying or harassing calls, contact PUBLIC SAFETY. An officer will meet you to discuss the situation and to determine the best course of action to be taken. You will be asked to keep a log of your calls, description of the caller’s voice, background noises, etc. Depending on the situation, Public Safety with the assistance of Auxiliary Services may be able to determine the origin of the calls.
The following suggestions are given for dealing with harassing phone calls:
- Never engage the caller in conversation.
- Never answer personal questions or give out information to an unknown caller.
- Unplug your phone if necessary.
- Contact Public Safety at extension 1111.
If you receive threatening or obscene calls, contact Public Safety immediately, even if you have already spoken to an officer.
Most harassing calls do not present a physical threat to the victim’s safety. The caller often knows the victim. Occasionally the caller simply contacts the victims randomly.