From [SentencingProject] The Nashville police department has used traffic stops as a strategy to increase visibility and prevent crime in the city, but this tactic has disproportionately affected people of color and has failed to improve public safety, according to a new report from the Policing Project of the NYU School of Law in collaboration with the Stanford Computational Policy Lab (SCPL). The report notes that although the total number of stops and their racial disparity have declined in recent years, black drivers were stopped at a 44% higher rate than white drivers in 2017. The researchers also found the stops did not appear to have a significant impact on short- or long-term crime trends.
The police department claims these disparities are connected to the location where stops occur, explaining that Nashville’s “high-crime” neighborhoods tend to have larger populations of color. SCPL’s analysis finds that even after controlling for crime, unexplained racial disparity persists. In response to the report, Nashville police may be open to some changes.
The SCPL report states,
“as we summarize below, there are indeed notable racial disparities in traffic stops in Nashville. These disparities are higher for traffic stops around non-moving violations,such as broken taillights or expired tags. Disparity, however, is not necessarily evidence of discrimination .
Any number of neutral factors, including officer deployment patterns or differences in rates of offending, may explain these and other disparities in the criminal justice system. MNPD explains these racial disparities in traffic stops on the ground that officers go where the crime is, and that in Nashville, high-crime neighborhoods tend to have larger minority populations. The SCPL analysis bears this out. However, even controlling for crime, unexplained racial disparity still remains.
More importantly, the SCPL report shows that traffic stops are not an effective strategy for reducing crime. In particular, MNPD’s practice of making large numbers of stops in high crime neighborhoods does not appear to have any effect on crime.” [MORE]