How does violence potential relate to crisis intervention team responses to emergencies?

Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Feb;59(2):201-4. doi: 10.1176/ps.2008.59.2.201.


Objective: This study explored whether a crisis intervention team (CIT) promotes public safety and diversion from jail to treatment.

Methods: Police reports (N=655) were analyzed for CIT events that occurred between March 2003 and May 2005 to determine each subject's potential for violence to self or others.

Results: Some 45% of CIT events involved suicide crises, 26% involved a threat to others, and average violence potential ratings suggested minor to moderate risk. Officers' use of force related strongly to violence potential (eta of .54). Nevertheless, officers used force in only 15% of 189 events posing serious to extreme risk of violence and used low-lethality methods. Of events, 74% were resolved through hospitalization, whereas only 4% were resolved through arrest.

Conclusions: Although the study lacked a comparison group, the results are consistent with some studies suggesting that CIT holds promise in meeting safety and jail diversion goals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coercion
  • Crisis Intervention / methods*
  • Crisis Intervention / statistics & numerical data
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric / methods*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Nevada
  • Police*
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data