A Geographic Approach to Racial Profiling: The Microanalysis and Macroanalysis of Racial Disparity in Traffic Stops

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Matthew B. Robinson Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: Despite numerous studies explaining racial disparity in traffic stops, the effects of spatial characteristics in patrolling areas have not been widely examined. In this article, the authors analyzed traffic stop data at both micro- and macro- levels. The micro-level analysis of individual stops confirmed racial disparity in the frequency of traffic stops as well as in subsequent police treatments. Blacks were overrepresented and other racial/ethnic groups were underrepresented in traffic stops, with a greater disparity in investigatory stops. The macro-level analysis found that the likelihood of being stopped and being subjected to unfavorable police treatment (e.g. arrest, search, and felony charge) was greater in beats where more blacks or Hispanics resided and/or more police force was deployed, consistent with the “racial threat” or “minority threat” hypothesis. These findings imply that racial disparity at the level of individual stops may be substantially explained by differential policing strategies adopted for different areas based on who resides in those areas.

Additional Information

Publication
Roh, Sunghoon, and Matthew B. Robinson (2009). A Geographic Approach to Racial Profiling: The Microanalysis and Macroanalysis of Racial Disparity in Traffic Stops. Police Quarterly 12(2): 137-169. [June 2009] Sage
Language: English
Date: 2009