Home > Blog > Missouri Attorney General Releases Information on Traffic Stops

Missouri Attorney General Releases Information on Traffic Stops

Posted by RCaldwell on June 7, 2013

Keep this release in mind when you are driving.


Attorney General Koster releases 13th annual report on vehicle stops

May 31,2013


Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney  General Chris Koster today released the 13th Annual Report on Vehicle  Stops. The 2012 report contains analysis on more than 1.6 million stops  by 616 law enforcement agencies, including racial and ethnic information about  drivers who were stopped. 

Koster said Missourians can visit his website to  compare the 2012 report to vehicle stops data going back to 2000, when data  collection was first required by Missouri law.

"One of the best uses of these reports is as a springboard for dialogue and  communication between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve,"  Koster said. "It is vital that Missouri law enforcement agencies continue  to review the rates of stops and searches and to continue their outreach efforts."

The Attorney General reiterated that the disparity index for any community is  not conclusive evidence of racial profiling.

The "disparity indexes" compare the proportion of stops for drivers of a  particular race or ethnicity to the proportion of state or local population of  that racial or ethnic group. A value of "1" represents no disparity; values  over "1" indicate over-representation, while values under "1" indicate  under-representation. 

Koster said in 2012 the statewide African-American disparity index was 1.57,  down from the 2011 rate of 1.63. This represents the third time in  13 years that the disparity index for African-American drivers has  decreased.  

The report shows the rate (disparity index) at which Hispanics were stopped  decreased in 2012 to .60, compared to .65 in 2011, a rate lower than that of  white drivers. However, search rates (the rates at which drivers of a  given race are searched subsequent to a traffic stop) for both Hispanic and African-American  drivers continue to be higher than for white drivers. Hispanic drivers  were 1.92 times more likely than white drivers to be searched. African-American drivers were 1.83 times more likely to be searched when  stopped than white drivers.  

Despite the elevated search rates, Hispanics were less likely than white  drivers to be found with contraband subsequent to being searched. While  the “contraband hit rate” for white drivers was 25.5, the rate of Hispanics  searched and found to have contraband was 16.9. The "contraband hit  rate" for African-American drivers was 18.8.

Koster thanked and commended law enforcement agencies for their willingness to  compile information for the report. He noted that 96 percent of agencies  submitted information.  Twenty-three agencies did not respond in 2012, a  decrease from the 25 departments that failed to report in 2011. The  Attorney General's office has submitted the names of those agencies that did  not respond to the Governor, as required by law.

Koster noted that the report contains information on vehicle stops from  individual law enforcement agencies, so each community can examine its own data  and situation. For example, it is helpful to compare departments of a  similar size or from similar geographic areas. Additionally, factors such  as crime patterns or the existence of an interstate highway in a given region  may affect data samples. Koster noted that general statewide trends do  not necessarily reflect trends for individual departments, which should be  considered on an individual basis.

The full report plus data for individual law enforcement agencies can be found  online.

See this report on the website itself: http://ago.mo.gov/newsreleases/2013/AG_Koster_releases_13th_annual_vehicle_stops/


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