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Can programs like the Mobile Crisis Response Program help prevent increasing violence?

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Cincinnati Police and UC Health are using telehealth technology to expand an effort called the Mobile Crisis Response Program that allows officers to connect with a social worker to resolve calls that involve mental health issues.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati, like many cities across the country, has seen a pronounced spike in violent crime during the pandemic. The city saw 94 murders last year — a historic high — and is on pace to see another 90 this year.

Of course, the links between trauma, mental health issues and violence are complex, and the majority of people experiencing a mental health crisis don’t go on to commit violence, even under duress like we've seen during the pandemic.

But there is some circumstantial evidence the stress of the pandemic and increasing crime levels are related. Is the spike in violent crime partly due to increase mental strain during such a traumatic pandemic? And can programs like the Mobile Crisis Response Program help prevent increasing violence?

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the Mobile Crisis Response Program and the complicated questions around crime and the pandemic are Cincinnati Police Executive Assistant Chief Teresa Theetge and UC Health Mobile Crisis Response Team Program Manager Kathy Miller.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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