The Kansas City Public Library

Racial Profiling

Racial Profiling or Racist Policing? Bounds Tests in Aggregate Data

This 2004 paper, co-authored by Rubén Hernández-Murillo and John Knowles, examines methods of applying a well-known test, the comparison of average search success rates by race, to summary statistics by race where different kinds of search are aggregated together. According to the paper’s abstract: “This paper develops a model of police search decisions that allows for non-discretionary searches and derives tests for racial bias in data that mixes different search types. Our tests reject unbiased policing as an explanation of the disparate impact of motor-vehicle searches on minorities in Missouri.”

Racial Profiling Study and Services: A Multijurisdictional Assessment of Traffic Enforcement and Data Collection in Kansas

This 2003 study was commissioned by the state of Kansas and conducted by the Police Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. whose primary function is researching innovation and improvement in policing. The study examines the nature, character, and demographics of police enforcement practices, including systematic data collection on traffic stops.

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