Racial Profiling and the Threat Hypothesis

Richard C. McCorkle, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
Terance D. Miethe, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
Wendy C. Regoeczi, Cleveland State University

ABSTRACT
Over the past decade, racial profiling has received increasing attention from policy makers and researchers. Using conflict theory's threat hypothesis, this study examines racial patterns in traffic stops within and adjacent to neighborhoods with varying populations of white residents. Data for the study come from 182,000 traffic stops conducted in Las Vegas, Nevaduringduring 2002. For each stop, information is provided on driver demographics, the nature of the stop, searches and seizures, and final disposition. Census tractlevel data was used to construct demographic profiles of neighborhoods corresponding to police patrol sectors. The authors discuss their findings and the implications for public policy and future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006