The Repetitive Nature of Police Stops

Lisa Growette Bostaph, Boise State University
John E. Eck, University of Cincinnati
Lin Liu, University of Cincinnati

A common phenomenon in criminology is the concentration of offenders, victims, and places in crime events. This is often referred to in the crime analysis literature as the "80-20 principle" wherein 80% of crime events involve 20% of the offenders, victims, and places. What is unknown is whether or not this concentration occurs in police stops. Borrowing concepts from routine activity theory and the crime analysis literature, it is hypothesized that a potential explanation for the disparity found in police stop research is the concentration of citizens, officers, and places in the data. The present study examines traffic stop data collected over a six-month period of time in 2001 within a single city. The following questions are addressed: (1) do these phenomena of concentrated citizens, officers, and places occur separately in police stop data; (2) is there overlap among these three areas of concentration and, if so, how much overlap; (3) and, does this overlap ocur differently for white citizens and black citizens who are stopped by the police. SPSS statistical software and GIS mapping will be used in these analyses and in the presentation of the data/outcomes.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006