Racial Bias in Traffic Stops: The City of Charlotte

Authors

Abstract

This study analyzes the traffic stops data published by the City of Charlotte in the years 2016-2017 and 2019-2020 to determine if there was any racial bias in the policing. R was used to examine 213,475 stops that involved Black and White drivers. The analysis showed that Black drivers were more likely to be searched, and more likely to be let off with a lighter consequence (e.g., verbal warning). White drivers were more likely to get a citation while Black drivers were more likely to get arrested. When restricted to stops with searches, White drivers were more likely to be given a citation or arrested while Black drivers were more likely to be let off without action. These results are further skewed against Black males between the ages of 18-25. Implications are discussed. The R script and dataset are made available to facilitate reproducible research.

Keywords: traffic stops, police bias, statistics, dataset

Downloads

Published

2021-11-19