Study: NYC Overdoes Prevention Centers Did Not Increase Crime

A new study analyzing 911 calls, summonses and other city data revealed that the areas surrounding New York City’s two overdose prevention centers in Upper Manhattan did not experience a disproportionate rise in crime after they opened in late 2021, Caroline Lewis reports for Gothamist. Despite anecdotal concerns reported by some neighbors in those areas, the overall call volume remained very low and the only upward trend involved a slight increase in the number of 311 calls about drug use in the areas.

The nonprofit OnPoint NYC, which operates the city’s two existing centers in Harlem and Washington Heights, reports that its staff have intervened in more than 1,000 potentially fatal overdoses since opening in November 2021. During the research period, the monthly average number of 911 calls for crime and other emergencies near the overdose prevention centers decreased 30 percent and calls specifically for medical emergencies near the overdose prevention centers decreased by about 50 percent. Felonies increased by similar amounts near the overdose prevention centers (21 percent) and comparison sites (18 percent), which the study noted was consistent with a general rise in crime in the city during that time. 

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