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Psychological Models of Stereotyping and Profiling in Law Enforcement: How to Increase Accuracy by Using More Non-Racial Cues

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 30 Issue: 1 Dated: 2007 Pages: 87-129
Yueh-Ting Lee; Jeffrey Bumgarner; Roobert Widner; Zhen-Lei Luo
Date Published
43 pages
This study examined the use of stereotyping as a legitimate law enforcement tool if it is devoid of unlawful and unethical bias.
The study found that stereotypes and profiles are used to create rational categorizations that are part of human nature and that it is appropriate to use them in law enforcement applications as long as they are used without bias or prejudice. Stereotypes and stereotyping as well as profiles/profiling are part of human nature, but can pose complicated issues, both socially and politically. In general, society and, more specifically, law enforcement should not categorize people based on race or ethnicity, nationality, age or other categories, to avoid claims of biased profiling. Sensitivity to and appreciation of different human beings are extremely important for police work and race alone should not be used in discretionary decisionmaking. However, non-racial categorical or stereotyping can be used as an aid to law enforcement and training in this ability should be enhanced. In law enforcement stereotyping and profiling certain situational and behavioral cues rather than race or ethnicity can increase effectiveness. The authors of this study promote a new conceptual framework which would permit rational and unbiased stereotyping. Figures, notes, references