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Resource Guide on Racial Profiling Data Collection Systems: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned

NCJ Number
Date Published
This document provides an overview of the nature of racial profiling; a description of racial-profiling data collection and its purpose; current activities in California, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Great Britain; and recommendations for the future.
For the purposes of this guide "racial profiling" is defined as "any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than the behavior of an individual or information that leads the police to a particular individual who has been identified as being, or having been, engaged in criminal activity." in response to allegations of racial profiling, some communities have begun to track the race, ethnicity, and gender of those who are stopped and/or searched by police officers. This guide is a blueprint that police and communities can use to develop racial-profiling data collection systems. It offers practical information about implementing these systems and analyzing the data. Although the guide does not intend to provide a comprehensive and thorough inventory of all existing racial-profiling data collection systems, it does provide detailed descriptions of data collection efforts in a few selected sites. San Jose, Calif., has designed a simple letter-code system that allows information to be collected verbally (via radio) or by computer. San Diego, Calif., uses an online data collection system; and North Carolina was the first State to collect data on traffic stops pursuant to State legislation. Great Britain uses a paper-based system to collect information on both traffic and pedestrian stops and searches. New Jersey is collecting information on traffic stops pursuant to a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. Recommendations for traffic-stop data collection systems focus on a local task force, a data collection pilot program, data collection design, data collection elements, mechanisms for ensuring data integrity, and data analysis and future research. Contact information and 123 notes
Date Created: December 19, 2000