East New York

East New York precinct gets highest number of calls for Emotionally Disturbed Persons

March 25, 2019 Paul Stremple
East New York's 75th Precinct has the highest number of 911 calls regarding Emotionally Disturbed Persons. Scott Roth/Invision/AP

Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct has the highest number of 911 calls for Emotionally Disturbed Persons out of any precinct in the five boroughs, according to a report by investigative news outlet The City.

There were 5,428 EDP calls made to 911 in the 75th Precinct last year, according to data compiled by The City. The precinct covers East New York and Cypress Hills. That’s about 15 calls made per day to officers policing a precinct of more than 183,000 people.

EDP is a police term describing a wide range of erratic behavior. Though not all EDP calls involve an individual with a mental illness, symptoms of mental illness often lead to a police response for an EDP.

It increasingly falls to police officers to address individuals suffering from mental health crises, despite most officers lacking specific mental health training, according to the report. Over the last decade, EDP calls have nearly doubled — from 97,000 per year in 2009 to nearly 180,000 last year, according to the data.

In neighborhoods like East New York, 911 calls about mental health are part of a larger picture of poverty and policing. According to the Department of Health, 26 percent of adults in East New York are without healthcare, and psychiatric hospitalizations run to 1,030 per 100,000 adults. The Brooklyn-wide average is 734 per 100,000. Lack of access to services and financial stressors may be contributing factors to mental health incidents in a neighborhood where 32 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

The 75th Precinct has also paid out the most lawsuits of any precinct in the city, Patch reported earlier this month. There have been 91 lawsuits filed against the East New York precinct since 2015, with a resulting $9.1 million spent in settlements.

Confrontations between untrained officers and the mentally ill have led to police shootings in the past, like the 2018 killing of Saheed Vassell, a bipolar man in Crown Heights who was shot when police thought the metal pipe he was holding was a gun.

After Vassell’s death, the mayor announced a new task force to improve how police officers respond to the mentally ill, while the Brooklyn borough president tested out new, non-lethal approaches to subduing subjects.

Check out The City’s in-depth investigation into how New York City is grappling with the crisis.

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