Racial profiling affirmative




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RACIAL PROFILING CLAIMS ARE BASED ON FLAWED STATISTICS



1. RACIAL PROFILING IS A MYTH BASED ON FLAWED STATISTICS

Heather MacDonald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Spring 2001.

THE CITY JOURNAL, Accessed May 10, 2005, http://www.city-journal.org/html/11_2_the_myth.html

The allegation that police systematically single out minorities for unjustified law enforcement ultimately stands or falls on numbers. In suits against police departments across the country, the ACLU and the Justice Department have waved studies aplenty allegedly demonstrating selective enforcement. None of them holds up to scrutiny. The typical study purports to show that minority motorists are subject to disproportionate traffic stops. Trouble is, no one yet has devised an adequate benchmark against which to measure if police are pulling over, searching, or arresting "too many" blacks and Hispanics. The question must always be: too many compared with what? Even anti-profiling activists generally concede that police pull drivers over for an actual traffic violation, not for no reason whatsoever, so a valid benchmark for stops would be the number of serious traffic violators, not just drivers. If it turns out that minorities tend to drive more recklessly, say, or have more equipment violations, you'd expect them to be subject to more stops. But to benchmark accurately, you'd also need to know the number of miles driven by different racial groups, so that you'd compare stops per man-mile, not just per person. Throw in age demographics as well: if a minority group has more young people—read: immature drivers—than whites do, expect more traffic stops of that group. The final analysis must then compare police deployment patterns with racial driving patterns: if more police are on the road when a higher proportion of blacks are driving—on weekend nights, say—stops of blacks will rise.


2. RACIAL PROFILING STATISTICS ARE FLAWED

Heather MacDonald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, January 19, 2003.

THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE, Accessed May 10, 2005, http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_latimes-what_looks_like.htm

Not so fast. To the charge that the police have "too many" law enforcement interactions with minorities, the question must always be: "Too many" compared to what? To compare stop, search and arrest data to demographics, as cop critics would have us do, is absurd. The police don't formulate their crime strategies based on census findings; they go where the crime is. What's more, an officer's decision to ask a person to step out of a car or to search that person is triggered by behavioral and contextual cues -- nervousness, threatening behavior, resemblance to a suspect, absence of a license and car registration, tinted windows, among others -- that are not even remotely captured by demographics. To benchmark police activity, one must start, at a bare minimum, with the rate of lawbreaking among various groups, for it is ultimately criminal behavior and its consequences that drive police actions. Any disparities in crime rates will have compounding effects throughout the law enforcement system.

RACIAL PROFILING NEGATIVE

RACIAL PROFILING IS PROPORTIONATE TO MINORITY CRIME RATES


1. RACIAL PROFILING IS PROPORTIONATE TO MINORITY CRIME RATES

Heather MacDonald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Spring 2001.

THE CITY JOURNAL, Accessed May 10, 2005, http://www.city-journal.org/html/11_2_the_myth.html

The hue and cry over the alleged New Jersey search rate makes sense only if we assume that drug trafficking is spread evenly across the entire population and that officers are unable to detect the signs of a courier once they have pulled over a car. There are powerful reasons to reject both these assumptions. Judging by arrest rates, minorities are vastly overrepresented among drug traffickers. Blacks make up over 60 percent of arrests in New Jersey for drugs and weapons, though they are 13.5 percent of the population. Against such a benchmark, the state police search rates look proportionate.


2. RACIAL PROFILING TACTICS ARE RESPONSIVE TO CRIME RATES

Heather MacDonald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Spring 2001.

THE CITY JOURNAL, Accessed May 10, 2005, http://www.city-journal.org/html/11_2_the_myth.html

The racial profiling analysis profoundly confuses cause and effect. "Police develop tactics in response to the disproportionate victimization of minorities by minorities, and you are calling the tactics the problem?" Flynn marvels. However much the racial profilers try to divert attention away from the facts of crime, those facts remain obdurate. Arlington has a 10 percent black population, but robbery victims identify nearly 70 percent of their assailants as black. In 1998, blacks in New York City were 13 times more likely than whites to commit a violent assault, according to victim reports. As long as those numbers remain unchanged, police statistics will also look disproportionate. This is the crime problem that black leaders should be shouting about.

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