Racial Profiling and Police Vehicle Stops: The Cincinnati Data

Lisa Growette Bostaph, University of Cincinnati
John Eck, University of Cincinnati
Lin Liu, University of Cincinnati

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this paper is to attempt to determine whether or not there is racial disparity as to who the police stop and to narrow the possible explanations for any findings of racial disparity. Data was gathered from contact cards completed by officers whenever a vehicle stop was initiated during the officer's shift from July through December 2001. Drivers' license and census data was used to estimate the driving population, by race, during different times of the day using traffic modeling software. Information on repeat stops was also compiled through drivers' licenses and vehicle license plate numbers. Police calls for service and crime data were used to identify any hot spots of crime and disorder. Finally, all four forms of data were also analyzed using GIS software to offer a spatial and temporal distribution of stops across neighborhoods. The authors discuss their findings and the implications for further research in this area.

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Updated 05/20/2006