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Massachusetts Racial and Gender Profiling Final Report

Page 3 of 5 -- Major Findings

The process of drawing conclusions about racial and gender disparities in 366 different law enforcement agencies does not allow for the in-depth analysis that can and should occur in a particular community. This report is intended to highlight the main areas of concern, offer interpretations of different types of disparities and hopefully serve as a springboard for more detailed analysis that can best be done at the community level between local police and members of their community. A summary of the major findings is as follows:

249 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts have substantial disparities in at least one of the four categories of analysis used in this report (Table A). Breaking down these disparities into the four measurements that were used in the report we find:

-- 141 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts have racial disparities above the statewide median in citations given to resident drivers who were non-white, Black, Hispanic or non-white males (Table B). Statewide the average disparity between non-white residents cited and non-white residents in the census population was .06% with non-white residents being cited slightly more frequently than their representation in the residential population. Statewide the largest racial difference between citations to residents and residential population was for Black drivers (average disparity of 1.3%) and non-white male drivers (average disparity 2.2%).

-- 201 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts have racial disparities above the statewide median in citations given to non-white, Black, or Hispanic drivers (Table C). Statewide the average disparity between non-white drivers cited and non-whites in the driving population estimate was 2.6%. Very consistent disparities were found when Black citations (average disparity of 2.3%) and Hispanic citations (average disparity 2.2%) were compared to the driving population estimate.

-- Out of the 87 communities where a sufficient number of searches were conducted for analysis, 40 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts are statistically significantly more likely to search non-white, Black, Hispanic or non-white male drivers compared to white drivers (Table D). Although searches following a traffic citation are a relatively rare event in Massachusetts (only 1.3% of all traffic citations resulted in a non-inventory search of the motorist or their vehicle statewide), non-white drivers were more likely to be searched following a citation than white drivers (1.3% of white drivers searched compared to 1.8% of non-white drivers).

-- Out of a sample of 142 communities where an analysis of written warnings could be conducted, 83 agencies are statistically significantly more likely to give a citation to a non-white, Black, Hispanic or non-white male driver compared to a white driver (Table E). Statewide 72% of non-white drivers receive citations compared to 65.9% of white drivers. This suggests that in some communities in Massachusetts officers may be more likely to use their discretion to give written warnings to white drivers rather than to non-white drivers.   Continued...

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