Variations in Mental Health Act Calls to Police: an Analysis of Hourly and Intra-week Patterns

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Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies &Management

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Purpose – Investigating the day of week and hour of day temporal patterns of crime typically show that (late) nights and weekends are the prime time for criminal activity. Though instructive, mental-health-related calls for service are a significant component of police service to the community that have not been a part of this research. The purpose of this paper is to analyze calls for police service that relate to mental health, using intimate partner/domestic related calls for police service for context. Design/methodology/approach – Approximately 20,000 mental health related and 20,000 intimate partner/domestic related calls for police service are analyzed. Intra-week and intra-day temporal patterns are analyzed using circular statistics. Findings – Mental-health-related calls for police service have a distinct temporal pattern for both days of the week and hours of the day. Specifically, these calls for police service peak during the middle of the week and in the mid-afternoon. Originality/value – This is the first analysis regarding the temporal patterns of police calls for service for mental health-related calls. The results have implications for police resourcing and scheduling, especially in the context of special teams for addressing mental health-related calls for police service.



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