Where calling the police isn’t the only option

There’s a growing movement in the U.S. to hand some police duties over to social workers and alternative emergency responders
Bloomberg CityLab (US)
Thursday, September 3, 2020

us defund policeSkeptics of the movement to defund or abolish police departments often invoke the threat of a 911 call in the middle of the night that goes unanswered. But a lot of 911 calls could be answered by someone who’s not an officer in a uniform with a gun: Medical concerns about unhoused people, reports about individuals in the throes of a mental health crisis, and complaints about minor nuisances like loud music dominate the 911 wires. Nationwide, an estimated 80% of 911 calls are made for nonviolent, non-property offenses, says Frankie Wunschel, a research associate at the Vera Institute. The New York Times found that the share of time officers spend handling violent crime in New Orleans, Sacramento and Montgomery County, Maryland, this year was only 4%.