What to Know
- The number of arrests related to individuals with a mental health history has spiked in the last five years, according to NYPD statistics obtained by NBC 4 New York.
- Mental health wellness and how the police respond to incidents possibly involving an emotionally disturbed person has been at the forefront of city policies and reform for quite some time.
- Earlier this month, state and local leaders unveiled a new crime fighting plan they say will help stop attacks in the New York City transit system — which has seen a number of high-profile violent attacks, many of them unprovoked.
The number of arrests related to individuals with a mental health history has spiked in the last five years, according to an NYPD statistical analysis obtained by NBC 4 New York.
When it comes to the seven major felony offenses (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny of a motor vehicle), there has been 38,608-related arrests for 2022 year-to -date. Out of this figure, 9,049, or 23.4%, of the individuals arrested have a documented mental health history, termed as “emotionally disturbed person,” or EDP, by police.
This latest citywide percentage of individuals arrested who are defined as emotionally disturbed is an increase from 2017’s full-year statistics when there were 41,539 arrests pertaining to the seven major felony offenses citywide, with 14.9% (6,187) of the arrested having a documented EDP history .
The NYPD’s statistics show that out of the citywide number of arrests under the seven major felony offenses for 2022 year-to-date, 421 of the year-to-date arrests categorized under the seven major felony offenses that took place on the city’s transit system , nearly 40% (163) were of people who were emotionally disturbed.
The department notes that its analysis is limited to data available to the NYPD, which is primarily aided reports and medical treatment of prisoner reports, according to the department. This figure may not include all individuals arrested that have emotion history.
Further breaking down the statistics, felony assault arrests for 2022 year-to-date are 16,100 with 3,495 (21.7%) of these arrests being individuals with an EDP history — a jump from the 15,543 total citywide felony assault arrests for 2017 of which 16 % (2,484) were of individuals with EDP.
Additionally, according to the NYPD statistics, out of the 3,020 slashing/stabbing year-to-date arrests citywide, 679 (22.5%) have a documented EDP history. Meanwhile, for the year of 2017, out of the 3,238 slashing/stabbing arrests that took place across the city, 542 (16.7%) have a documented EDP history.
The NYPD statistics also report that out of the 1,181 alleged perpetrators and person of interests in 2022 shootings year-to-date citywide, 133 (11.3%) have a documented EDP history. For the year of 2017, out of 735 apparent perpetrators or persons of interest in shootings, 6% — or 44 individuals — were considered EDP.
NYC’S EFFORTS TO COMBAT MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
Mental health wellness and how the police respond to incidents possibly involving an emotionally disturbed person has been at the forefront of city policies and reform for quite some time.
Earlier this month, state and local leaders unveiled a new crime fighting plan they say will help stop attacks in the New York City transit system — which has seen a number of high-profile violent attacks, many of them unprovoked.
Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a new plan over this past weekend to curb subway violence — targeted or otherwise — in a bid to assuage public concerns as the struggling MTA looks to continue its slow-churning pandemic rebound.
The Democrats said they plan to greenlight more than a thousand overtime shifts every day designed specifically to increase the number of uniformed officers on patrol on platforms and trains. Funding for additional 1,200 shifts would account for 10,000 more patrol hours each day. Their weekend announcement also called for two new in-patient psychiatric facilities to aid people experiencing serious mental health issues.
Hochul said part of the plan includes MTA police focusing resources on stations linked to the four major commuter rail hubs — Penn Station, Grand Central, Atlantic Terminal, and Jamaica Station — a move, in turn, that allows NYPD officers to increase coverage across the system. Subway riders Monday may also have noticed announcements at certain stations reminding them that police are available in the area if they need to report a crime or concern.
“Cops, Cameras, Care,” as Hochul called the series of initiatives, includes expanded mental health training previously given to New York State Police and first responders in crisis intervention. The state training will now be provided to police and other city first responders specifically involved in the transport of people needing psychiatric evaluation.
NYC said that it was focusing its efforts to make the subways safer on six lines in particular, as mental health teams pair up with police to tackle crime and homelessness. NBC New York’s Erica Byfield reports.
The electeds acknowledged the perception of violence plaguing public transit. City leaders say there has been a drop in crime, but the nine homicides within the MTA this year has created a boiling over of frustration they said must be addressed head-on.
“We must address both the perception and reality of safety, and the expanded partnership we are announcing today with Governor Hochul will do just that, while building off the successes of our Subway Safety Plan. The bottom line is that riders will see more officers in the system, and so will those thinking of breaking the law,” Adams said.
Sending scores of additional officers into the transit system is a method already in the mayor’s toolkit. His subway safety plan announced earlier in the year deployed additional cops after the start of his administration.
Adams said 40% of transit murders were committed by people with severe mental health problems. So the next step is addressing mental health.
The state has promised 50 new inpatient beds — under a new plan to essentially — have people committed.
The two new psychiatric facilities, the first of which is scheduled to be open by Nov. 1, will each hold 25 inpatient units. The second is expected to open early in 2023.
The state’s Office of Mental Health will oversee the treatment program designed to aid people 18 and older who are experiencing homelessness and have severe mental illnesses, Hochul explained.
Within the new OMH assignment, a step-down program will be established to help patients transition to independent geared living settings.
The installation of security cameras is among the plan’s top priorities — the governor expects at least 750 to be installed inside subway cars every month; the entire fleet should be done by late 2024. Already, the governor noted, more than 200 cameras have been added to cars since her announcement last month.
Critics were quick to blast the plan, with Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch calling it “unsustainable.”
“Our city must immediately boost pay and improve working conditions in order to recruit and retain enough police officers. That is the only way to provide real safety in the subway, rather than the illusion of ‘omnipresence,'” Lynch said.
Additionally, mental health advocates worry it’s overreach and won’t solve the problem without a huge commitment to supportive housing.
Last year, the city along with NYC Health + Hospitals revealed a mental health program where instead of showing up with policeNew York City EMTs will be accompanied by a social worker.
“B-HEARD,” or Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division, looks to limit NYPD contacts that could go bad or trigger an emotionally disturbed person.
City Hall said at that time that 2% of their 911 calls are related to emotionally disturbed people. City officials said at the time that these new teams will only be dispatched to 911 calls that come in without weapons or violent behavior.