The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) partnered with the San Diego Police Department in 2019 to examine policing practices and behavior from 2016-Sept 2020 as a part of the National Justice Database (NJD) project. CPE examined the incidences of traffic stops, non-traffic stops, and use of force in order to:
The Center for Policing Equity’s analysis of SDPD data differs from other reports, such as those compiled by San Diego State University, Campaign Zero, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, among others, in three ways:
Disparities in rates of police contact and the outcomes of this contact mean that racial groups in a community have different experiences of policing. When certain groups experience more frequent police contact, they are also exposed to an increased likelihood of further involvement in the justice system.
Racial disparities are important to measure because they shed light on specific sources of frustration and the risk of harmful outcomes in communities—an essential step in identifying effective reforms. But disparities do not necessarily indicate that police officers have engaged in biased or discriminatory behavior toward different racial groups. The NJD framework described below examines how factors outside of a department’s direct control (such as poverty and crime rates in a neighborhood) may contribute to observed disparities.
By accounting for external factors, it is possible to infer which portions of a disparity are likely related to factors within a department’s control, like officer behavior, as well as departmental policies and practices.
The NJD analytic framework—a structure for collecting and interpreting the data used in these analyses—aims to distinguish among five broad types of explanations for racial disparities in policing:
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