Since posting the video on social media, a number of women reported having had similar interactions with a similar man.
A Vancouver woman says that she no longer feels comfortable leaving her house after a stranger followed her around on the street for over half an hour last week. 26-year-old Jamie Coutts was running an errand at around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday when she felt like she was being followed. "I first noticed he was following me between Keefer Street and Keefer Place," Coutts told CTV News. "I decided to film so I could see how close behind me he was and what he was doing." She revealed that even though she stopped walking and told the man he could pass, he refused to walk away and just "stared" at her.
"I said, 'You're walking too close to me,'" she recalled, adding that the man didn't do or say anything. Coutts explained that the whole incident lasted about 40 minutes and that she even tried to test if he was actually following her by walking around the block several times in a circle. "I was walking as fast as I could," she said. When she was convinced that the man was stalking her, Coutts pulled out her phone and recorded a seven-minute video of her walking with the man trailing close behind. She eventually ran up to a group at the skate park and asked them if she could sit with them until the man left her alone.
"He didn't have any fear to him, he followed me knowing people were watching, you can see people kind of looking confused in the video looking at me because I was holding my phone in a way it was in front of me it was obvious to everybody around me and I could see what was happening behind me," Coutts told NEWS 1130. The video shows the man hanging around near the group for a few minutes until being confronted by someone at the park. Coutts revealed that she stayed with the skateboarders for 15 minutes and contacted Vancouver Police shortly after.
Officials confirmed that the police are currently investigating the incident. "We are currently analyzing this and looking into it further to see if it could be linked to other events like this that have occurred either in the city or elsewhere in the region," said Sgt. Steve Addison. "Obviously, this incident is very concerning to us and we take it very seriously. We applaud the victim for doing the right thing and coming forward to police so we can conduct a proper investigation."
"I think in this circumstance, we saw a woman being very resourceful, both by creating evidence, but also creating a witness," said Angela Marie Macdougall, director of Battered Women’s Support Services. "It is not to be taken lightly, at all." After Coutts' video went viral on social media, a number of women reported having had similar interactions with a similar man. "Thanks to this victim who's made this very scary situation known, we have other victims that have come forward and we are investigating (those) as well," said Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin. "We will continue to do so."
Dara Parker, who believes she was followed by the same man a few months ago, revealed that she and her partner had taken their dog for a walk when the incident occurred. "It was really creepy," Parker said. "He just kept following us." She revealed that she and her partner immediately recognized the man when they saw Coutts' video. "I'm just so disappointed by the comments on social media, but especially disappointed by people who are critiquing and dismissing a woman who both in the moment was trying to secure her safety and other people," said Parker. "When you're in an emergency situation, your judgment is compromised." Coutts, who revealed that she no longer feels comfortable leaving her house, said: "I hope that I don't run into him again, and I hope that the police are getting as much information as they can to find this guy because I wasn't the first and I know I won't be the last."