Racial disparity in Urbana traffic stops dips in 2017

Racial disparity in Urbana traffic stops dips in 2017

URBANA — In its report on officer traffic stops in 2017, the Urbana Police Department said it stopped slightly more white drivers and slightly fewer black and Hispanic drivers compared with past years.

Police crime analyst Melissa Haynes presented the report to the Urbana City Council on Monday night. It was the latest in a series of traffic-stop reports that indicate a racial disparity where black drivers are more likely to be stopped by police than expected, given the makeup of Urbana's population.

Haynes said for data from 2012 to 2016, there was an average disparity ratio of 1.55 for black drivers being stopped. That dipped to 1.49 for 2017. Similarly, for Hispanic drivers, the disparity ratio went from 1.20 to 1.05.

White drivers had a disparity ratio of 0.84 for 2012-16, which Morgan said rose to 0.87 for 2017. And the disparity ratio for Asian drivers held steady at 1.03 for both time periods.

Alderman Aaron Ammons said this data shows that things are moving in a good direction, but there's still work to be done.

"The reality for people is that this is still happening," Ammons said about the racial disparity. "There are still the economic and police-community relations impacts."

Haynes confirmed Ammons' summary that black drivers are stopped by police about 50 percent more than expected, based on city population. They noted how that percentage equates to about 273 stops, about 140 of which will result in fines or fees.

"That's around $16,800 coming out of the poorest segments of our community, for all intents and purposes," Ammons said.

Ammons also noted Haynes' data on consent searches. It indicates that more contraband is found among white drivers than among black and Hispanic drivers, even those black and Hispanic drivers who are stopped more often than whites.

Police Chief Sylvia Morgan said she has been implementing some policing tweaks since Jan. 1 and will continue them until the end of June. Then the department will see whether they have had an impact on the disparity ratios.

"We're taking a different look at our Selective Traffic Enforcement Program stop locations and making some changes to that," Morgan said, referring to the stops that the police department mandates to target specific crimes or problem areas.

"We're also working with patrol officers on how they do their job," she said.

Mayor Diane Marlin said she thinks those tweaks will result in real change.

In other business, the city council gave its unanimous initial approval to the Urbana Climate Inheritance Resolution, which addresses lessening the impact of climate change on young and future generations.

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Silence Dogood II wrote on February 13, 2018 at 11:02 am

This so-called selective enforcement or whatever, will end when cops start coming up empty-handed for other illegal activities or possessions. Go to a dealership and check out their service department. They usually have lube techs aside from full-service techs. Why??? Because the lube rack techs handle very low-mileage vehicles that most likely have little to nothing wrong with them. The higher-mileage vehicles have a better chance of becoming a decent repiar order for that technician. Same concept. If you’re going to risk your life with every single traffic stop, would you risk it for a bulb being blown out on a 2019 Buick in the church parking lot on a Sunday morning or that gangsta 1992 Cutlass that’s rust-bucket falling apart with the exception of $600-EACH for four 24” rims and a $6,500 stero and amp system. Let’s not be dumb or illogical; we know what happens. And sure, I know, I’m a part of the problem. Not really, the problem is perception. If I’m subjected to your “Freedom of Expression” blaring music or whatever it is at the gas station, I already have a negative opinion of you because YES, Freedom’s do work both ways. Then I go punch in on the clock as a cop and guess who’s getting the license plate bulb out citation and noise ordinance citation. And since you don’t care about those two, you probably don’t care about keeping your insurance up to date and lord knows what else I’m going to find, FTA warrants, etc. Trump only won the presidency because people at least can still hide behind the voting booth. No, I did not vote for him but I very easily understand why other people did; the voter booth is ironically the one place where We the People don’t have to be “politically correct.” Perception change is not easy, but over time, it is eventually noticed. But with each gangsta rap I gotta put up with at the nearest Circle K, that perception goes straight back down to zero.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 13, 2018 at 11:02 am

That's around $16,800 coming out of the poorest segments of our community, for all intents and purposes," Ammons said.




Sorta like the County board member who had not paid his fines until a lawsuit was filed?  You pay for that AA Ron?


Speaking of which.


Noticed your signs on Springfield/Mattis the other day.. right in front of a preditory payday loan place.


In the mean time.. keep beating this over the head of UPD  eventually they will get the message not to stop anyone for any reason.

rsp wrote on February 13, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Sorta like the County board member who had not paid his fines until a lawsuit was filed?

Maybe he was just waiting for his tax refund to pay it. Did you think of that? What have you done for anyone, besides sit at your keyboard in the dark in the basement? At least he's trying to better himself and serve his community. But no, go after the black guy. He made a mistake. And it's always the black guys you go after...

illinijd wrote on February 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm
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The Commissar Ammons controled Soviet Social Republic of Urbanastan strikes again.

While old people can't walk around their SouthEast neighborhood because of thugs and they are scared those same thugs will break into their house at night, Commissar Ammons is concerned about Traffic Tickets!

No wonder the once great city of Urbana is a joke of a city. Only a bit better than Danville and Decatur,

Oh...is there a pattern there?

Don't do stupid things and the Cops won't arrest you.

Glad I no longer live there.


CallSaul wrote on February 13, 2018 at 5:02 pm

So are the rest of us...

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 13, 2018 at 8:02 pm

You meañ besides not getting caught with a gun and drugs?   Besides paying my taxes on time along with my speeding ticket on time?    Not much.   RACE has nothing to do about this.  Not paying your fines on time for what?  3 years and sit on the county board?    But your all good with that huh.