Chiefs Discount Racial Disparity of Chicago-Area Traffic Stops


About two-thirds of police departments in DuPage County, Ill., stopped a disproportionately larger number of minority drivers at traffic stops in 2004, according to data collected under a new state law. But that does not mean the departments are practicing racial profiling, cautioned law enforcement officials and criminologists. The report, released by the DuPage County Chiefs of Police Association, details the number of stops in 2004 by 33 departments. It categorizes the stops by race, number of citations, warnings and searches, and reasons for stops.

The report shows 22 departments stopped a greater proportion of non-white drivers than the proportion of minorities 15 and older living in those communities. In 23 departments, minorities were more likely to be given a citation than whites, and in 22 departments, minorities’ vehicles were more likely to be searched. Some police chiefs say the findings donn’t take into account those traveling through their communities or the spillover of non-whites from nearby communities. Meanwhile, a similar state report in Missouri found that blacks were 38 percent more likely to be stopped on Missouri’s roads than whites.


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