A test of racial disproportionality in traffic stops conducted by the Raleigh Police Department
Recent research has raised questions regarding the Raleigh Police Department’s (RPD) use of race as a proxy for criminal behavior. News reports going back to 2000 make claims of racial bias based on the disparity between the racial composition of stopped motorists and the racial composition of the city (Associated Press, 2000). Critically, these kinds of analyses typically use census population estimates to establish a benchmark for the driving population. Census estimates, however, demonstrate only where people reside and serve as a poor proxy for the actual driving population. Therefore, census population cannot accurately measure the population at risk (i.e., the driving population that is likely to be involved in a traffic stop). RTI International conducted a series of analyses to address this methodological limitation. This research was funded internally by RTI to serve the community and to contribute to a growing body of scientific research on this topic.
Taniguchi, T., Hendrix, J., Aagaard, B., Strom, K., Levin-Rector, A., & Zimmer, S. (2016). A test of racial disproportionality in traffic stops conducted by the Raleigh Police Department. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International.