The criminality of the mentally ill: A dangerous misconception

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103 Scopus citations


A longstanding controversy is the relative dangerousness and criminality of the mentally ill. The author presents observational data from 1,072 police-citizen encounters in an urban area. The data show that persons exhibiting signs of serious mental disorder were not suspected of serious crimes at a rate disproportionate to their numbers in the population. The patterns of crime for mentally disordered persons and for non-mentally-disordered persons were substantially similar. These data help dispel the myth that the mentally ill constitute a dangerous group prone to violent crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-599
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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