A pressing challenge for law enforcement agencies is how to effectively respond to people they routinely encounter. Often known as "high utilizers," these individuals come into frequent contact with law enforcement officers or other emergency services -- usually for low-level, misdemeanor crimes or non-emergent concerns -- and many have unmet behavioral health, housing, or other social services needs. For example, in Camden, New Jersey, 5 percent of adults accounted for 25 percent of all arrests over a 5-year period. And in Wake County, North Carolina, of the 36,665 people who entered the jail over a period of 2 years, 5 percent (1,333 people) were jailed 4 or more times. Of those people, 807 had contact with not only the jail, but also homelessness and emergency medical services. Encountering these same people again and again overburdens law enforcement agencies, strains limited resources, and can be frustrating and demoralizing for officers who are unable to help the individual.
How to Reduce Repeat Encounters: A Brief for Law Enforcement Executives
Bureau of Justice Assistance