Nov 19, 2014 12:50 AM by Jason Atcho
Researchers at Chico State released findings from a national study that shows police profiling of the poor and racial minorities are in fact unsuccessful.
The study was called "Hunting for ‘Dirtbags': Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities'" and Chico State Professor Ryan Patten says not only is it not working, it's causing more problems. He gathered data from two major U.S. One was in California and another on the east coast. "We had over 300 hours of ride alongs and over 300 observations with police officers and citizens," explained Patten.
While trying to answer the question of why, their research found officers are rational human beings and they're held to standards. "When it comes time to be on swat team, K9, anything like that, they sit down and they get evaluated based on the number of tickets they write and the number of arrests they make. So being rational actors, police go out and they seek those activities," said Patten. At the end of the day, that's where cops think they can make arrests. "Cops might be patrolling in a commercial area or a wealthier neighborhood, but they descend on these poor areas with racial minorities because they think they're going to be successful in trying to find tickets and trying to find arrests."
Research found that even though police stopped and frisked people in these communities, they're in fact unsuccessful at making arrests through this method. "As we can see through demonstrations in a lot of cities across the United States, people get angry and upset when they feel like the police are targeting them for no reason."
That's why racial tensions are boiling over across the U.S., including the shooting death of Michael Brown. "Regardless of whether the shooting was justified or not, the black community in Ferguson, Missouri is upset because they feel like they're being targeted by the police and it has been that way for decades."
The research was done with two major cities that remained confidential, but no cities in the North State were included in the study.
Patten did talk about some solutions for police departments. He says they can use data from the calls made by the community and then create a strategy for police to go out together and solve those problems.