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Today's Question: Is racial disparity in Boone County traffic stops cause for concern?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | 11:41 a.m. CST; updated 5:29 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 9, 2009

Last Friday, the Boone County Sheriff's Department released data that revealed that blacks and Hispanics who were pulled over during traffic stops in 2008 were more than twice as likely to be searched and arrested by Boone County Sheriff’s deputies.

At first look, the numbers are staggering. In 2008, deputies arrested 13.9 percent of black drivers and 12.5 percent of Hispanic drivers. Comparatively, only 6.2 percent of white drivers who were pulled over were arrested. Furthermore, 16.67 percent of Hispanic drivers and 18.56 percent of black drivers were searched during traffic stops compared to only 8.75 percent of whites.

But Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey insisted those numbers are not a result of racial profiling. He said the disparity in percentage of stops, searches and arrests by race is caused by a proactive law enforcement approach that concentrates patrols in areas where a high volume of calls and drug intelligence is received and as a result, a higher percentage of cars are pulled over in those areas. He added there is a higher number of black people living in those areas.

But the numbers are still hard to ignore. Blacks and Hispanics make up about 15 percent of Boone County’s population, according to 2007 Missouri Census data. But they made up 20 percent of the traffic stops, 35.6 percent of the total searches and about 37 percent of the total arrests.

The data also revealed a gender and age disparity. Sixty percent of drivers stopped were male while 39.8 percent were female. And 52.9 percent of the total traffic stops were under the age of 30.

Do you think racial and gender profiling are legitimate concerns
within the department? What can be done to fix this problem or alter the perception of the department?


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Comments

Bill Smith March 4, 2009 | 3:38 p.m.

Seriously? This isn't news.

(Report Comment)
Brandon Schatsiek March 4, 2009 | 3:52 p.m.

Then you are a part of the problem if you don't see this as news.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand March 4, 2009 | 4:10 p.m.

If a minority makes up the majority of the population in a high-crime area, and if law enforcement focuses on that area, of course the arrest percentage will be higher for that minority.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 4, 2009 | 7:31 p.m.

If you are of a minority and you are out causing trouble or out getting stopped then you have nothing to complain about. You brought it on all by yourself and upon yourself. Deal with it already.

I do not hear of any Chinese,Indians,Mexicans,Greeks,
Koreans,Vietmanese or white people crying about being pulled over more often than others and all of the above especially us white folk are fast becoming the minority here in this country.

This is just another crying escapade by those who are still not able to move past racial boundries they put there themselves but instead choose to commit these ongoing behaviors and scream afterward about racism.

(Report Comment)

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