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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 219277 Find in a Library
Title: Racial Profiling and the Political Demand for Data: A Pilot Study Designed to Improve Methodologies in Texas
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:June 2007  Pages:101-120
Author(s): John Liederbach; Chad R. Trulson; Eric J. Fritsch; Tory J. Caeti; Robert W. Taylor
Date Published: June 2007
Page Count: 20
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on the results of a pilot project to develop and implement strategies for the collection and analysis of racial profiling data in Texas.
Abstract: Results indicated that in all five sites, minorities were stopped at a rate disproportionate to their percentage of the population, but the degree of proportionality differed across the sites. In 85 percent of all stops, the reason involved an observed traffic violation and Black drivers accounted for a disproportionate number of these stops. Most drivers (91 percent) were not subject to a search but when a search did occur, the suspect was most likely (86 percent) to be Black or Hispanic. Fifty-four percent of stopped drivers were not residents of the city in which the stop occurred. Nearly half of all searches occurred incident to an arrest. The findings of the pilot project expose the folly associated with mandating large-scale data collection on traffic stops absent sufficiently rigorous methodologies. However, the trend toward mandatory data collection is increasing. It is hoped this pilot project experience in Texas will serve as a cautionary tale to other jurisdictions. The pilot study included four suburban sites in Texas (Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, and Lancaster) near Dallas. A literature review was conduct with the aim of developing standardized procedures, which resulted in the development of a coding instrument to be used by officers during traffic stops. The coding instrument improves on existing instruments by adding data fields that allow for additional information across three general decision points: stops, searches, and dispositions. Additional demographic and situational information was included, such as driver demeanor, condition of vehicle, and driver gender, all of which provide additional information regarding the possible motivation for officer action. Two variables were included to inform an ongoing debate: whether the driver was a resident of the jurisdiction in which the stop occurred and the type of roadway on which the stop occurred. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Data collections; Profiling
Index Term(s): Research and development; Research design; Texas
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