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- Racial Profiling
Ferguson Civilian Review Board (FCRB)
One of the responsibilities of the Ferguson Civilian Review Board, per ordinance, is to “…review racial profiling data…to identify patterns and trends.”
To do this, Ferguson Police Department traffic stop data is displayed on various graphs that make patterns and trends easy to see.
Law enforcement agencies in the state of Missouri, including the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), provide vehicle stop data to the Missouri Attorney General’s office each year. This data must be provided to the Attorney General by March 1 and the Attorney General must compile and publish the data by June
Information about the reporting process and all Missouri Vehicle Stops Reports from the year 2000 through last year are available at Missouri Vehicle Stops Report.
The following two charts visually summarize the disparity index for the FPD for the last 20+ years and make any patterns or trends easy to see.
According to the Attorney General’s report “...the ‘disparity index’... relates each racial/ethnic group’s proportion of total traffic stops to its proportion of the driving-age (16+) population. A value of 1 indicates that a group’s proportion of vehicle stops equals its population proportion: it is neither ‘under-represented’ nor ‘over-represented.’ Values above 1 indicate over-representation, and those below 1 indicate under-representation in traffic stops.”
While the disparity index is calculated by factoring in the population %, the chart below shows the actual number of stops for white and black residents.
A large gap in actual stops would be expected even if there were no racial disparity. Using either the 2010 census population figures or the 2018 population estimates, there are roughly twice as many black resident drivers as white resident drivers. With no disparity, in the chart above, each year the bar for black residents should be about twice as large as the bar for white residents.
As can be seen, each year the bars for black residents are significantly greater than twice as large as for white residents. This is another reflection of the disparity index. The larger the disparity, the larger the difference in the bars.
Even though the number of traffic stops dropped dramatically beginning in 2015, this drop did not noticeably change the disparity index.