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June 1992

Mentally Disordered Offenders Who Push or Attempt to Push Victims Onto Subway Tracks in New York City

Author Affiliations

From the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, New York (NY) University School of Medicine (Dr Martell) and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, and the Threat Assessment Group Inc, Newport Beach, Calif (Dr Dietz).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(6):472-475. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820060052008

• Violent offenders who pushed or attempted to push victims onto the subway tracks in New York City during the 17-year period from 1975 through 1991 were studied. Forty-nine incidents involving 52 victims were identified during this period. Of 36 perpetrators who acted alone, 25 (69%) were referred for psychiatric evaluation and treatment, as was one member of an offending gang. Data concerning 20 of these 26 offenders and their crimes were collected. At the time of the offense, 19 (95%) of these offenders were psychotic, and 13 (65%) were homeless. Most of these offenders had extensive histories of psychiatric hospitalization and several prior arrests and convictions, often for violent crimes. The offenders had extensive mental health and criminal histories. The victims of these crimes were always strangers. Half of the offenders killed or seriously injured victims. Since 1986, the incidence of this offense has increased, and offenders accounting for the increase are mostly psychotic and homeless.

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