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The documents to the right examine statistical
data regarding racial disparities in traffic stops
and searches in the City of Greensboro in an effort to determine if institutional and/or individual bias contributes to the disproportionate actions
involving African Americans.
The Greensboro Police Department (GPD) does not contest the fact that the data shows racial disparities with respect to traffic stops and searches. Data from Greensboro and across the nation shows that black motorists are more frequently pulled over and searched than white motorists.
Recently, some researchers, news reporters, and members of the public have asserted that these disparities are due to racial bias by the police. However, this explanation must be contextualized because of the many alternative, nuanced and complicated factors that contribute to these statistics.
Researchers who have studied this topic for decades have consistently found inconclusive evidence of institutional or individual racism as the reason for racial disparity in traffic stops and searches. Many factors – besides the race or ethnicity of a driver – are involved in the decision to stop a vehicle and these factors must be accounted for in any analysis of traffic stops. Ultimately, data that is currently collected by local and state entities is not sufficient to prove that racial bias is a reason why GPD officers stop and search vehicles. This is true of data that both the state and the City collect.
There is no single “fix” for the issues underlying racial disparities in traffic stops or searches. It is a complex phenomenon that deserves thoughtful solutions. Understanding that, GPD has taken a holistic approach to addressing traffic stops and searches in order to best serve the public.
GPD members hope the documents on this page will further the dialogue on the topic, result in change that benefits Greensboro and its residents, and serve as a model for other communities to better understand and address similar issues.