In this day in age, one can never be too sure with people that you meet. You could meet a great guy/girl and then you find out they engage in extracurricular activities like the craigslist killer. Gael Strack CEO of The National Family Justice Center Alliance, says, “After a domestic violence homicide neighbors so often say, ‘He was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. And the defendants I prosecuted—they all were nice. At first. And they were all very good at charming women into believing they were good guys.”
So here are some good tips to be aware of, just in case you get a little suspicious.
* BACKGROUND CHECK: Before going on a date, Google him/her. Do a Facebook investigation. Research them as thoroughly as if you were buying a used car.
* PRIOR VIOLENCE: Strack also suggests making sure he/she hasn’t had a restraining order issued against them. Usually these records are available online, although where to find them, depends on your jurisdiction. Try the web sites for your local police department, sheriff, district attorney, city, or county. Sometimes a good local domestic violence council or program will also have them. A guide to getting free court records online may help you get oriented.
* DISAPPEARING ACT: Once you’re dating, if he/she goes missing periodically, or calls erratically, and explanations don’t quite make sense, be suspicious. These guys are genius at lying to cover up a double life. One time, Frey called Peterson’s cell phone to leave a message for when he arrived in Paris, as she knew he was on the plane. But to her surprise he picked up. (Unbeknownst to her, it was two days after he killed his wife Laci and the son she was about to give birth to.) He kept explaining away various events that didn’t line up. Ultimately, she became uneasy enough to call a cop friend and have him checked out.
* HATES PARENTS: According to forensic scientists, this is one of the observed traits of serial killers. Of course many people aren’t close with their mothers or fathers, but if your partner loathes them, keep your eyes open.
* BE A PET DETECTIVE: Talk about any dogs, cats, or other animals they’ve had. If you find out that they’ve been cruel to them, even once, it’s a huge red flag. Neon, flashing, start-running-now red. It means you’re with someone who sees nothing wrong with inflicting pain on a vulnerable creature, which could be you if you stick around.
* TELLS YOU WHAT TO WEAR—and decides what to do when you’re together, and criticizes you for flirting with others. You know to be wary of jealous, over-controlling men/women (Abuser 101). But it’s hard enough to tease out a potentially dangerous mate from one who is so taken with you, they are concerned about every detail of your life, that it bears repeating—as do all the warning signs of domestic violence from the Red Flag Campaign.