The importance of gender in the spatial distribution of police interactions involving emotionally disturbed persons: an examination of call types [2017]

The current study investigates gender differences in the spatial distribution of the British Columbia Mental Health Act (MHA), criminal and non-criminal police calls-for-service involving emotionally disturbed persons (EDP). Using a sample of 4341 police incidents over a three-year period, 13 pairwise spatial comparisons of similarity were completed across four dimensions: Mental Health Act events, criminal and non-criminal events, and gender. Results indicate that the locations in which EDP intersect with police services are spatially concentrated, and the spatial patterns differ depending on whether the events are calls that fall under the Mental Health Act, criminal, or non-criminal in nature. When considering the gender component, findings indicate that the locations of Mental Health Act calls are the most spatially distinct between males and females. Findings further emphasise that EDP are involved in many different types of contacts with the police, most of which are apprehensions under the British Columbia Mental Health Act, followed by criminal and non-criminal interactions. From a spatial perspective, the findings also highlight the need to differentiate between genders as well as event types to improve police resourcing and better guide situational crime prevention efforts.

Adam D. Vaughan, Ashley N. Hewitt, Martin A. Andresen, Simon N. Verdun-Jones & Patricia L. Brantingham
Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, Volume 29, 2019 – Issue 2