Crime is perhaps the biggest topic on the minds of New Yorkers over the last year. With headline after headline showcasing random attacks such as straphangers being tackled onto subway tracks and the murder of veteran EMS Lieutenant Alison Russo-Elling in Queens, the NYPD revealed startling statistics that point to many of these violent assaults being committed by those with a history of mental illness rather than being premeditated crimes.
“Arrive alive” is the mantra police dispatchers recite to officers when answering to 911 calls, however, a vast majority of these first responders are also warned that many of the responding locations have a history of EDP —also known as emotionally disturbed persons.
For many, this underscores the profound lack of mental health services to keep troubled individuals from roaming the streets, forcing the NYPD to become the custodians of both crime and emotional disorders.
According to police sources, a high percentage of arrests made in all areas of crime have a startling history of mental illness. Citywide, out of 38,608 “7-major” year-to-date arrests, 9,049 (which is about 23.4%) have an EDP history. The term “7-major” refers to the seven major crimes the NYPD constantly tracks through CompStat: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, grand larceny, burglary and grand larceny auto.
These arrests are even higher in the transit system with 163 out of 421 7-major year-to-date arrests (38.7%) with an EDP history.
This trend continues further still. The NYPD Crime Control unit found that 25% of the housing arrests, which is 250 out of 1,001, as well as 21.7% of felony assault arrests (3,495 out of 16,100) all have an EDP history. Felony assault arrests in the transit system year-to-date are reached a whooping 42.5% (74 out of 174 individuals each with EDP history).
Over the past year, the numbers have been edging closer to almost half of all individuals being arrested having an EDP history. These statistics also showcase misdemeanor assaults with EDP individuals being arrested for 18% citywide (out of 25,111 individuals arrested, 4,513 had a history of EDP). Within the transit system, misdemeanor assault arrests of EDP individuals doubled to 41.9% (out of 370 arrests, 155 have an EDP history).
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions lost funding and even closed their doors. In 2021, amNewYork Metro reported on a seemingly revolving door of those suffering drug addiction and mental illness who congregate in Kips Bay as they allegedly are in and out of Bellevue Hospital. With less care more individuals are left to fend for themselves without the aid of medication or other medical care.
Petty larceny arrests citywide involving individuals with an EDP history make up 37.8% (6,291 out of 16,664) of this year’s arrests, as well as 50% of these arrests in the transit system (41 out of 82 arrests have an EDP history).
The number of arrests involving shootings and stabbings are also particularly high with those with an EDP history: 22.5% slashing/stabbing citywide, 38% in transit, and 19.4% in housing. As for those arrested for what police believed to be involved with shootings, about 11.3% have an EDP history citywide, 9.1% in the transit system and 16.2% in housing.
On Oct. 23, Mayor Eric Adams wrapped up his weekend summit on criminal justice Sunday in which he touched upon mental illness.
“I’ve stated this over and over again that there are many rivers that feed the sea of violence and justice. The prerequisite to our prosperity as a city is justice and public safety. They go together. And today, sitting down with every area of the criminal justice system from judges to defense attorneys, district attorneys, lawmakers, police officers, those who are concerned about mental health issues — any part of the criminal justice system was represented,” Adams said during a press conference call after his summit.