The police in my area have the misconception that a stalker has to be someone you dated or worked with
This is a misconception that is to be found all across the country and even in the case of celebrity stalkings there is this "question" in terms of whether there is "something else going on" besides stalking.
In one case, the stalker claimed the victim was her lesbian lover and so there was this "question" about the victim until the stalker barricaded herself in the victim's home with automatic weapons.
In another case the victim met the stalker who was a friend of a friend to discuss a script. The next thing she knew he was at her gate proclaiming his love for her. There was this "question" since they had a "business relationship" as I understood it.
I have experienced two "relationship" stalkings and one "anonymous" stalking which on the surface looks like anything but. In reality, however, I only met this man twice. The second time to try to find out why he had been stalking me for six months which looking back was the last thing I should have done but at the time it was the only thing I could have done. An attorney and the police both had said for over two months there was nothing they could do. Because of who he was, someone suggested I meet with him. I actually had to force the meeting. He didn't admit it but he didn't deny it. He literally screamed "I need help" that day.
I think it is human nature to respond to someone. Particularly if you know they need help. Even moreso if you have a relationship with them.
The problem is that sometimes when we do, we turn the music on and the dance begins. How do we know when to respond and when not to? We don't. But we do have that chill up our spine. That gift of fear.
The "anonymous" stalkers are usually the most dangerous and particularly when they involve a celebrity victim. The obssession is so complex and so distorted that the "rejection" apparently is the trigger that results in an act of violence. But that same dynamic can be found as has been pointed out here in all anonymous stalkings.
I recall reading something about serial killers having stalked their victims prior to killing them. If so, you have to wonder how many victims reported the suspicious activity to law enforcement and they dismissed it for the very reason you point to. That there is this prevalent attitude in law enforcement that strangers don't stalk strangers.
It is very frightening to realize you are being stalked by someone who may be a serial killer and law enforcement seems unable, or unwilling, to intervene and it seems impossible that they would not be able or willing to intervene and yet most of us have experienced it ourselves and know all too well how law enforcement dismisses us and our fear. They dismiss our fear more than anything else.
I often wonder how a police officer or a prosecutor really feels when someone they dismissed ends up being killed and, more importantly, if it changes their attitude towards stalking.
The statistics would indicate the attitudes are changed very little. It is still too easy to dismiss a victim and blame them for being a victim in our society. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors are always very quick to respond with the "they should have"s and someone really needs to hold a mirror up to them when do. There are often quite a few "they should have"s that can be directed at them as well.