Aug 1, 2018

Mental illness increases the likelihood of being a crime victim

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That is the conclusion from Dean et al. (2018) published in JAMA Psychiatry.  Using a Danish registry of individuals born between 1965 and 1998, the measure the likelihood a crime event (any or violet) between 2001 and 2013.  They find that:

In a total cohort of 2 058 063 (48.7% male; 51.3% female), the adjusted IRRs for being subjected to crime associated with any mental disorder were 1.49 (95% CI, 1.46-1.51) for men and 1.64 (95% CI, 1.61-1.66) for women. The IRRs were higher for being subjected to violent crime at 1.76 (95% CI, 1.72-1.80) for men and 2.72 (95% CI, 2.65-2.79) for women.

The analysis does control for an individual’s own likelihood of committing a crime as well as sociodemographic factors.  The authors conclude the following from these results:

Onset of mental illness is associated with increased risk of exposure to crime, and violent crime in particular. Elevated risk is not confined to specific diagnostic groups. Women with mental illness are especially vulnerable to being subjected to crime. Individual’s own offending accounts for some but not all of the increased vulnerability to being subjected to crime.

HT: Incidental economist.


  • Dean, Kimberlie, Thomas M. Laursen, Carsten B. Pedersen, Roger T. Webb, Preben B. Mortensen, and Esben Agerbo. “Risk of being subjected to crime, including violent crime, after onset of mental illness: a Danish national registry study using police data.” JAMA psychiatry (2018).

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Article Categories:
Mental Illness

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