Sunday, July 27, 2008

EGGHEADED BULLSHIT

The Northwestern University Center for Public Safety has recently released the results from the 2007 data gathered from Illinois police agencies.
Chicago Police officers are required to fill out a statistical study form when issuing a traffic citation (except traffic crash related) that asks race of driver, vehicle info, and was a search of the driver or passengers or vehicle conducted with or without consent and was any contraband recovered. The officers are also required to fill out a blue statically study card when a warning is issued as opposed to the citation. This practice is conducted throughout Illinois as mandated by law (625ILCS5/11-212).
This years results state the following (via Chicago Tribune)
Minority motorists in Chicago are about five times more likely than whites to undergo a "consent search," in which police at traffic stops ask permission to search vehicles.

Maybe the eggheads at NU should ask this question. What is the likelihood that when a person stopped in a high crime area and fails to produce a valid drivers license that that person isn’t issued any citation at all? I can tell you anecdotally that the numbers are staggering. You see whenever a person is driving without a valid d/l he is suppose to be brought into the station and issued citations along with an I-bond. This is time consuming and would cause a district to come to a complete standstill if there was even a 50% enforcement rate. The statistic gathers can not even fathom all the other variables that should be used in producing these findings.
The department deploys resources, other than district law, to areas of high crime. The higher the crime rate the more likely the area residents are minorities. Now get this straight, I did not say that a minority area necessarily has a high crime rate but that an area with a high crime rate is more likely to be minority. A unit like TRU or units assigned to Operation Safe Summer are sent to high crime, high minority neighborhoods and are going to make more stops of traffic violators than would be done in lower crime areas.
I don’t possess a grant to commission a study, but if I did I'm sure I too would be able to produce statistic that would dazzle you with my bullshit too.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I havn't done a traffic stop card or approved one in well over a year. Do they now ask if contraband was recovered?
I always thought they should have asked "Did driver have license." Was arrest made, etc...SCS, you make a good point, but I would argue that the number ismore like 85-90% do not get written. That's what people do not understand and something I tended not to do. I would write only PC, attitude, or no D/L or Insurance. Have a D/L and insurance, have a nice day. Most officers don't. They knew they had to write tickets and they wanted the easiest hazard they could that would get them on their way so they wouldn't have to worry about it. Suburbs and State don't do it either. For Chr*st sake, OUR traffic unit lets most of the shitheads go because they can nail 10 drivers with a license in the time it takes to TVB one without.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry it will get better when Obama is elected President or loses and runs for Governor. Wasn't he the one who created this law. I wonder how many asians were stopped?

Anonymous said...

start to tvb people wothout a drivers license the calls can wait

Anonymous said...

Thats why I do nothing. Its all bullshit and Im tired of it. I just dont fuckin care anymore.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Thats why I do nothing. Its all bullshit and Im tired of it. I just dont fuckin care anymore.

Mon Jul 28, 11:28:00 AM

+1

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
Thats why I do nothing. Its all bullshit and Im tired of it. I just dont fuckin care anymore.

Mon Jul 28, 11:28:00 AM

+1

Mon Jul 28, 03:23:00 PM

+1

Anonymous said...

I'm a civilian and a bit of an egghead myself, and I'd like to defend my brethren. Remember, this study wasn't designed by the eggheads at NU, it was designed by the Illinois legislature. NU just got the job of analyzing the data, and that's all they did.

Regarding the higher search rate for minorities, the most judgemental thing I could find was in the executive summary, which described the numbers as "troublesome." Well, aren't they causing trouble?

The study itself was very careful to simply report the data on consent searches, as received from police agencies, without drawing conclusions. The researchers explicitly refuse to "speculate on reasons for the disparity among the races" because "there may be specialized circumstances of which we were unaware or which were impossible to capture in the analytical process. These circumstances, as they are unique to the agency or jurisdiction, are best understood by that agency, which thus stands in the best position to explain the particular situation."

This is a common pattern in social science studies that make news. The eggheads understand the limitations of the study. The media and the politicians do not.

Too Many Dummies said...

Northwestern University= Too Many Dummies!

Anonymous said...

I have done hundreds of traffic stops over the past few years and I have NEVER let me repeat that NEVER filled out one of those "required" cards. They are stupid. The result of any study such as this has no possible way for us to look good when the stdy is being done by people who don't support the police in the first place. The statistics will always result in bad numbers for the police. If we stop more minorities because they commit more traffic violations, then it will be said that the police are picking on minoroties. If we stop less minorities but search them more often we are wrong in that case too. The problem as I see it is threefold:
1. Any survey must be neutral and conducted by neutral minded people to have any hope of being true or successful.

2. When all the minorities are added together, they become the majority. If you consider the fact that hispanics and blacks combined are in fact the majority in Chicago and in many areas of the city, they are a huge majority. This means that the statistic should say that the police were stopping the majority of the people in their district the majority of the time and letting them go the majority of the time too for things that you would not get a break for in other districts.
3. This survey cannot be accurate when one of the questions asks the officer to name the race he percieved the driver to be BEFORE he stopped the car. In many cases the officer doesn't even see the driver until he walks up to the window but he must put an answer for this question.....Is he supposed to pull this one out of his ass?...maybe the option of "unknown race" should have been allowed but it wasn't. In most cases, the race of the driver is not a concern to the officer but now he feels that somebody is counting everytime he stops certain races and that should not be a concern to any police officer. Simple fact is this....officers in hispanic areas will stop mostly hispanics, officers working in black areas will stop mostly blacks and officers working in white areas will stop mostly whites.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anyone commented on the fact that they are stating "Consent Searches" conducted by minorities is much higher. I can give you a few reasons. #1: It's a consent search. If you don't want to "consent" to it, don't allow consent. This may or may not work in Chicago, but around the rest of the state it does. And given the fact that cameras are in squad cars, I would say it applies here as well. #2: Police that tend to work in high crime areas, tend to be more proactive, hence, more likely to seek and conduct a consent search.
Those are only two things that come to mind, but the problem with Statistics is they can always be applied however you decide to portray them.

Anonymous said...

the poster balming the politicians rather than NU for a 'no-win' data collection law is ,,,

Correct!

If you thumb thru your legislative records, the law was written by one Chicago native by the name of Obama. The intent was not to determine if profiling WAS a problem but, as they said at the time "to determine the scope of the problem".

In other words they determined the evil police to be guilty and and now they were going to collect evidence.

The glaring flaws in the basic assumptions are:

All races commit equal amounts of violations.

All races use the roads in direct proportion to the population.

All races live in areas of equal crime or other factors you may use to ask for a search. So the fact that you are asking for searches in high crime areas more often, well, you must be a racist.

US Census figures are equally accurate across racial lines. This one is a giggle, because the usual suspects are always whining about their people being under counted.

If no ticket is written it is a FALSE STOP. Period. According to the law a pattern of these is an indicator of racial profiling, and something to be scrutinized.

Lumping everyone non-white together versus whites is a fair assessment of the motivation for stops.

But the fun's not over: When they stacked the deck and there STILL didn't seem to be an obvious issue, the state voted to extend the 'study' and asked for even more info on each stop. Grasping at straws.

Did I mention the lawmaker who introduced this was named Obama? He's not in Springfield anymore. He got elected to congress, I guess. Now he thinks he's been anointed to run the country.

Oh, yeah. If he gets elected, this Obama guy, we will see change. Oh yeah. I would guess at the expense of all of us.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes...one more thing...old timers out there will remember that there used to be an indication of race on the D/L info. They took that off some time ago, because it was said to be racist.

Some are calling for putting it back on, to ... uh... fight racism.

I give up.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the race on the dln. Leads me to think why don't they take the race off our personnel cards/jackets? What difference should the color of our skin make, right?

Please keep in mind that this is an open blog
that can and is read by people other than Chicago Police Officers.