Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

Know of content that should be considered for this collection? Please suggest a report!

Search this collection

Clear all

9 results found

reorder grid_view

Racial and Ethnic Disparities throughout the Criminal Legal System: A Result of Racist Policies and Discretionary Practices

August 17, 2021

Throughout history, the US has created laws that have discriminated against people of color, and as a result, examples of differential treatment on the basis of race can be found throughout the criminal legal system. This brief aims to provide a comprehensive overview of racial disparities at each level of the criminal legal system and highlight how each decision point of the system impacts the next, resulting in continuous, disparate outcomes for people of color. Our findings suggest that in order to address these disparities, researchers must approach their work with appropriately contextualized research questions and an understanding of the language they use. Additionally, researchers should frame reported statistics with the appropriate historical setting, and actively approach research through community engaged methods.

What Police Spending Data Can (and Cannot) Explain Amid Calls to Defund the Police

June 9, 2020

The brutal video of police murdering George Floyd has inspired unprecedented civil action and protests against police violence. Among the many signs and chants heard around the nation and the world are calls to defund the police.Some advocate for a complete restructuring of public safety. Others want sharp reductions in police spending with corresponding increases in other public services that support communities harmed by police violence.An examination of government finance data can inform—but in no way settle—larger debates around policing. Government spending on police is not merely a set of numbers but, rather, the culmination of a long history of policy choices, including many rooted in persistent structural racism.And spending is far from the only policing issue affected by structural racism. It's not even the only fiscal issue, as we saw with the excessive fines and forfeitures in Ferguson and increased purchasing of military equipment.There are countless issues, such as punitive policing, that require reforms outside of budgeting.But police spending reflects what communities pay in exchange for public safety—an exchange that does not keep all communities safe. At the least, spending data can help advocates and policymakers understand reforms' fiscal opportunities and parameters.

Defunding, Abolition, & Alternatives to Policing

Catalyzing Policing Reform with Data: Policing Typology for Los Angeles Neighborhoods

May 1, 2020

Thie report presents a typology of community-police interactions, revealing patterns in how calls to police and police activity differ across neighborhoods. It also discusses how this neighborhood-policing typology can inform conversations about police reform and support local movements for a more equitable criminal justice system. 

Learning to Build Police-Community Trust Implementation Assessment Findings from the Evaluation of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

September 8, 2019

This research report documents the training, policy development, and reconciliation activities of the six cities that took part in the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, an effort to promote more equitable, just, and respectful policing practices and improve relationships and trust between law enforcement and community members. We found that the training component of the Initiative, which exposed officers to concepts of procedural justice and implicit bias, was implemented as intended and was well received by officers. In addition, the reconciliation framework used to improve relationships between police and communities was powerful and impactful, leading police departments to make changes to their policies to build trust and institutionalize improvements to practices. We also observed that local contexts affected the implementation process, with factors such as police leadership stability and the dynamics underlying relations between police, political leadership, and the community facilitating or impeding progress.

Community Voices: A Participatory Approach for Measuring Resident Perceptions of Police and Policing

May 24, 2018

Community Voices, a participatory research project, aimed to change the ways residents are heard and police are held accountable. The central tenet of the project was that creating an authentic representation of community sentiment towards the police has the capacity to reshape power dynamics between law enforcement and marginalized communities. This brief provides an overview of the pilot of Community Voices in Austin, Texas, discusses its impact, and includes attachments that provide more extensive details about the findings and related products.

Mistrust and Ambivalence between Residents and the Police: Evidence from Four Chicago Neighborhoods

July 31, 2017

This brief examines the fractured relationship between residents in high-crime Chicago neighborhoods and the police that serve those communities. Based on surveys of people living in and police officers serving in four Chicago police districts on the city's south and west sides collected as part of the evaluation of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, these data demonstrate ambivalence between the police and residents. Community members do not generally perceive the police as acting in a procedurally fair manner and do not support their work; this perception is particularly high among people with recent arrest histories in co-offending networks. Police officers do not believe the community trusts them, and officers express little confidence or trust in those living in the districts they police. However, residents are generally willing to cooperate with the police on crime control efforts.

Police and Corrections Expenditures

January 1, 2017

Police expenditures include spending on police, sheriffs, state highway patrols, and other governmental departments charged with protecting public safety.Corrections expenditures are for the operation, maintenance, and construction of prisons and jails, as well as the activities of probation officers and parole boards.

Defunding, Abolition, & Alternatives to Policing

The Science of Policing Equity: Measuring Fairness in the Austin Police Department

February 23, 2016

This brief is a partnership between Urban and the Center for Policing Equity's National Justice Database, in collaboration with the White House's Police Data Initiative. The brief analyzes publicly available data in 2015 vehicle stops and 2014 use of force incidents on the part of the Austin Police Department. Findings indicate that even when controlling for neighborhood levels of crime, education, homeownership, income, youth, and unemployment, racial disparities still exist in both use and severity of force. We also document that APD has a high level of transparency, and the analysis demonstrates the value of that democratization of police department data in examining whether community-level explanations are sufficient to explain observed racial disparities.

Data Gaps; Racial Bias & Profiling

Policing 2016 To Deliver Safety, Police Need Legitimacy and Accountability

November 11, 2015

Much of the national debate on policing in 2015 has rested on a false premise—that community demands for greater police accountability come at the expense of effectively addressing crime. In fact, police need accountability and legitimacy in the communities they serve if they are to deliver safety. While policing is a local governmental function, federal policymakers have an important role to play in helping policing practice reflect this truth. The next president will have a wide range of funding, agenda setting, and enforcement tools that can elevate and spread the best in policing and compel reform where necessary.