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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1186/S40163-021-00141-0

Policing and public health calls for service in Philadelphia

02 Mar 2021-Crime Science (BioMed Central)-Vol. 10, Iss: 1, pp 1-6
Abstract: This contribution outlines various spatial and temporal aspects of medical or public-health related calls for service from the public to police in Philadelphia in 2019. These incidents comprise about 8% of the police department’s workload that originates from the public. Calls appear to be highly concentrated in a few areas, and specifically the Center City and Kensington neighborhoods. They are also more likely to occur late afternoon and evening. The article shows that some medical or public health activity initially masquerades as crime or other policing work and some events eventually determined to be police/crime activity can initially appear to be public health related. About 20% of activity in this area does not appear predictable from the initial call type as handled by police dispatch.

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Topics: Public health (52%)
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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.JCRIMJUS.2021.101814
Abstract: Purpose This 100-day experiment explored the impact of a dynamic place-based policing strategy on social harm in Indianapolis. Scholars have recently called for place-based policing to consider the co-occurrence of substance abuse and mental health problems that correlate within crime hot spots. Moreover, severity is not ubiquitous across harmful events and should thus be weighted accordingly. Methods Harmspots and hotspots were operationalized for this experiment and both received proactive police activities. Evaluation analyses includes multivariate point processes and hawkes processes to determine experimental effects. Survey data was collected via telephone surveys, was weighted for demographic representativeness, and analyzed using Poisson regression . Results Results indicate proactive policing in dynamic harmspots can reduce aggregated social harm. No statistical deterrence effect was observed in crime hotspots. Proactive police activity in harmspots was associated with higher arrest rates, though not disproportionate across race and ethnicity, nor was there an effect on incidents of use of force. A two-wave pre/post community survey indicated Indianapolis citizens believe data-driven policing to be useful, though perceptions vary across demographic groups with moderate trust around computer algorithms. Conclusion Place-based policing strategies should consider social harm events as a method to operationalize proactive policing. Observed effects are consistent with those of hotspots policing while enabling cities to broaden the set of harms experienced by varying communities. Harmspot policing may also position municipalities to maximize social service delivery at places beyond policing.

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Topics: Survey data collection (50%), Harm (50%)

3 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/10986111211035002
22 Jul 2021-Police Quarterly
Abstract: The protests following the killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 led to contentious discussions and debates in many cities about policing, with some calling to “defund the police.” However,...

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Topics: Agency (sociology) (53%), Service (business) (51%)

2 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1186/S40163-021-00157-6
Jacek Koziarski1Institutions (1)
01 Jan 2021-Crime Science
Abstract: Drawing upon seven years of police calls for service data (2014-2020), this study examined the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on calls involving persons with perceived mental illness (PwPMI) using a Bayesian Structural Time Series. The findings revealed that PwPMI calls did not increase immediately after the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Instead, a sustained increase in PwPMI calls was identified in August 2020 that later became statistically significant in October 2020. Ultimately, the analysis revealed a 22% increase in PwPMI calls during the COVID-19 pandemic than would have been expected had the pandemic not taken place. The delayed effect of the pandemic on such calls points to a need for policymakers to prioritize widely accessible mental health care that can be deployed early during public health emergencies thus potentially mitigating or eliminating the need for increased police intervention, as was the case here. Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40163-021-00157-6.

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Topics: Pandemic (51%)

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/POLICE/PAAB035
Abstract: Addressing public safety and welfare, inclusive of responding to incidents involving persons with mental ill-health (PMIH) has become an integral dimension of, and a significant challenge to, contemporary policing. Yet, little is known of the scale and severity of such PMIH-related policing demand, nor of the extent of frontline resource consumed in resolving such incidents. To address this shortfall, we deploy a bespoke text mining algorithm on police incident logs to estimate the proportion and severity of calls-for-service involving PMIH in a study of Greater Manchester, UK. Furthermore, and using Global Positioning System data, we then assess the amount of time spent by frontline officers responding to these calls. Findings suggest that existing police recording practices serve to significantly underestimate the scale and severity of PMIH-related demand. The amount of time spent dealing with PMIH-related incidents is both substantial and disproportionate relative to other forms of police demand.

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1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/07418825.2021.1999483
Meret S. Hofer1Institutions (1)
24 Nov 2021-Justice Quarterly
Abstract: Democratic police reforms have reduced the isolation of officers from the public, putting recent public demands for changes to U.S. policing into stark relief with existing practices of police agen...

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Topics: Law enforcement (53%)

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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.2307/2092019
Abstract: Following the distinction proposed by Banton, police work consists of two relatively different activities: "law enforcement" and "keeping the peace." The latter is not determined by a clear legal mandate and does not stand under any system of external control. Instead, it developed as a craft in response to a variety of demand conditions. One such condition is created by the concentration of certain types of persons on skid-row. Patrolmen have a particular conception of the social order of skid-row life that determines the procedures of control they employ. The most conspicuous features of the peace keeping methods used are an aggressively personalized approach to residents, an attenuated regard for questions of culpability, and the use of coercion, mainly in the interest of managing situations rather than persons.

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Topics: Law enforcement (54%), Culpability (50%)

701 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/10439463.2016.1219735
03 Apr 2017-Policing & Society
Abstract: Law enforcement (especially policing) and public health share much common ground; insecurity and lack of safety, traditionally provinces of law enforcement, are iniquitous to health and to attempts to improve public health. Considering the maturity of both fields and the growing complexities of their challenges, it is urgent to more consciously ‘join forces’. Public health has a strong culture of seeing the individual within their community, as active participants using social capital to build healthy communities. This is matched by the rise of ‘community policing’, with many of the same influences and approaches. More recently, vulnerability and holistic models of community safety and well-being are central to strategy in both law enforcement and public health. Public health is broad, with a huge variety of stakeholders: lists of disciplines engaged in the public health mission are long – but law enforcement officials appear rarely if ever. There is a lack of reciprocal awareness in each sector o...

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Topics: Community policing (63%), Law enforcement (63%), Health law (62%) ... read more

35 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/1043986219890191
Jennifer Wood1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Policing, in its various forms and dimensions, has indelible and complex connections to public health. The conventional functions of policing—promoting social order, security, and crime prevention—...

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Topics: Crime prevention (63%), Public health (56%), Law enforcement (55%) ... read more

17 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/SOCSCI9040055
Abstract: This article is part of a larger investigation looking into recent changes in the demographics of fitness doping and the possible consequences of such changes. Contesting the historical alliance be ...

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8 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1111/JPM.12691
Abstract: WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: People with serious mental illnesses are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Interventions such as Crisis Intervention Teams and Co-responder Teams may improve police officers' ability to provide effective response. There is still a gap in our knowledge of the nature of the situations officers are responding to and their perceptions of what is needed for effective response. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: This paper provides insight into officer perceptions and experiences of the mental health-related calls they respond to involving youth, adults and families. Officers often refer to people in crisis as having "gone off meds" but also recognize more complex factors at the individual level (e.g., co-occurring issues), family level (challenges of caring for a loved one with mental illness) and community level (deficiencies in health and social resources to address long-term unmet needs). Deficiencies in the resources needed to address the unmet needs of people and their families frustrate officers' desires to make a difference and effect long-term outcomes. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: Findings underscore the need for cities and communities to develop alternatives to emergency departments which, in the long term, may provide the best hope for reducing the reliance on police as mental health interventionists. Formal collaborations between the law enforcement community and the mental health nursing community could be focused towards this end. Findings provoke the larger question of what should "count" as good police work in the face of deficient community health systems. Practitioners should consider the distinction between police effectiveness and "whole system" effectiveness. Police officers could be held to account for "principled encounters" that are resolved in ways that reduce immediate harm, avoid stigma and advance procedural justice, but the full impact of their effects is contingent on the capacity of the wider system to do its job. Mental health nurses are well positioned to assist with officer training and provide support to officers responding to mental health-related situations. ABSTRACT: Introduction Data on fatal outcomes of police encounters, combined with evidence on the criminalization of people with mental illnesses, reveal a grave need to improve outcomes for individuals with mental illnesses who come into contact with police. Current efforts are hampered by a lack of in-depth knowledge about the nature of nature and context of these encounters. Aim/Question Building on previous findings from a larger study on the nature and outcomes of mental health-related encounters with police in Chicago, this paper examines officer perspectives on the unmet needs of individuals and their families and the ways in which the mental health and social system environment constrain officers' abilities to be responsive to them. Methods Findings are drawn from qualitative data produced through 36 "ride-alongs" with police officers. Field researchers conducted open-ended observations of police work during routine shifts and carried out interviews with officers-according to a ride-along question guide-during periods of inactivity or between calls for service to ask about experiences of mental health-related calls. Field notes describing their observations and ride-along interviews were analysed inductively using a combination of open and focused coding. Results Officers responded to a variety of mental health-related calls revealing complex, unmet needs at individual and family levels. A common theme related to officers' perceptions that "going off meds," combined with other situational factors, resulted in police being involved in behavioural health situations. The data also revealed broader aspects of the health and social system that, in officers' minds, constrain their ability to effect positive outcomes for people and their families, especially in the long term. Discussion Findings beg the larger question of what it is we, as a society, should expect of police in the handling of mental health-related calls, given their concerns with the wider health and social service system that they experience as deficient. At the same time, the view that "going off meds" is a common trigger of mental health-related events should be interpreted with care, as it may signal or perhaps serve as a shorthand for more complex health and social needs that could be obscured by a pharmacological or medicalized perspective on mental illness. This is an important area of future inquiry for research at the intersection of policing and mental health nursing. Implications for practice The contribution of police to the wellness and recovery of people and their families is constrained by the ability of the community health and social service system to do its job. A wave of new initiatives designed to enhance the interface between police and the medical community holds out hope for alleviating officers' concerns about whether they can work in tandem with the rest of the system to make a difference. For now, we suggest that what we can expect of police is to implement "principled encounters" that ensure public safety while achieving harm reduction, self-determination and the reduction of stigma. Mental health nurses are well positioned to assist with officer training and provide support to officers responding to mental health-related situations. However, the fields of policing and nursing practice may not yet fully understand the individual, family and community dynamics driving calls for police service. The notion of "gone off meds" should be interrogated as a potential trope that obscures a whole-of-person approach and whole-system approach to mental health crisis response and care.

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Topics: Mental health (60%), Psychological intervention (58%), Mental illness (56%) ... read more

6 Citations


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