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An Analysis of the NYPD's Stop-And-Frisk Policy in the Context of Claims of Racial Bias

28 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2005  

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science

Alex Kiss

Columbia University

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School

Date Written: June 16, 2006

Abstract

Recent studies by police departments and researchers confirm that police stop racial and ethnic minority citizens more often than whites, relative to their proportions in the population. However, it has been argued stop rates more accurately reflect rates of crimes committed by each ethnic group, or that stop rates reflect elevated rates in specific social areas such as neighborhoods or precincts. Most of the research on stop rates and police-citizen interactions has focused on traffic stops, and analyses of pedestrian stops are rare. In this paper, we analyze data from 175,000 pedestrian stops by the New York Police Department over a fifteen-month period. We disaggregate stops by police precinct, and compare stop rates by racial and ethnic group controlling for previous race-specific arrest rates. We use hierarchical multilevel models to adjust for precinct-level variability, thus directly addressing the question of geographic heterogeneity that arises in the analysis of pedestrian stops. We find that persons of African and Hispanic descent were stopped more frequently than whites, even after controlling for precinct variability and race-specific estimates of crime participation.

Keywords: criminology,hierarchical model,multilevel model,overdispersed Poisson regression,police stops,racial bias

Suggested Citation

Gelman, Andrew and Kiss, Alex and Fagan, Jeffrey, An Analysis of the NYPD's Stop-And-Frisk Policy in the Context of Claims of Racial Bias (June 16, 2006). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 05-95. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=846365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.846365

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-4883 (Phone)
212-663-2454 (Fax)

Alex Kiss

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Jeffrey Fagan (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2624 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.columbia.edu/fac/Jeffrey_Fagan

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