Using Shifts in Deployment and Operations to Test for Racial Bias in Police Stops


A lot of studies have been aimed at characterizing the true nature of police stops in New York City, especially in the context of NYC's stop-and-frisk laws -- however, many of these studies have shown well-known problems of omitted variable bias and infra-marginality within traditional outcomes tests for racial bias. Led by PISC Executive Committee member John MacDonald, this study aimed to both address these systematic study concerns as well as investigate the impact of "impact zone", or places where police officers were encouraged to stop people. The study found that after an area was designated as an impact zone, police were more likely to stop and frisk black and hispanic suspects than compared to the rest of the city.

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