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Are police-reported driving while Black data a valid indicator of the race and ethnicity of the traffic law violators police stop? A negative answer with minor qualifications

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  • Lundman, Richard J.

Abstract

Are police-reported driving while Black data a valid indicator of the race and ethnicity of the drivers police stop? This research answered that question by advancing the first multivariate analysis of race and ethnicity missingness in the traffic stop data reported by Boston police during April and May of 2001. The most important multivariate story the data tell was that race and ethnicity missingness was significantly nonrandom on multiple dimensions, including the second month of data collection, for drivers living in zip codes with above average and average people of color, for drivers living in zip codes with above average and average poor people, and for drivers whose stop ended in a ticket. The results therefore supported a clear answer to a fundamentally important question about the validity of the driving while Black data reported by police. Based upon the present research and with minor qualifications, police-reported driving while Black data were not valid because they underestimated the frequency with which police stop drivers of color.

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  • Lundman, Richard J., 2010. "Are police-reported driving while Black data a valid indicator of the race and ethnicity of the traffic law violators police stop? A negative answer with minor qualifications," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 77-87, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:38:y::i:1:p:77-87
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Schafer, Joseph A. & Mastrofski, Stephen D., 2005. "Police leniency in traffic enforcement encounters: Exploratory findings from observations and interviews," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 225-238.
    2. Grogger, Jeffrey & Ridgeway, Greg, 2006. "Testing for Racial Profiling in Traffic Stops From Behind a Veil of Darkness," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 101, pages 878-887, September.
    3. Sun, Ivan Y., 2007. "Policing domestic violence: Does officer gender matter?," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 581-595, December.
    4. Bazley, Thomas D. & Lersch, Kim Michelle & Mieczkowski, Thomas, 2007. "Officer force versus suspect resistance: A gendered analysis of patrol officers in an urban police department," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 183-192.
    5. Riksheim, Eric C. & Chermak, Steven M., 1993. "Causes of police behavior revisited," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 353-382.
    6. Culver, Leigh, 2004. "The impact of new immigration patterns on the provision of police services in midwestern communities," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 329-344.
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