STEPHENVILLE — The Institute for Predictive Analytics in Criminal Justice at Tarleton State University has published an addendum to its annual report regarding racial profiling data.
The Sandra Bland Act (effective September 2019) greatly improves the ability to conduct meaningful data analysis of Texas law enforcement agencies. In the statewide 2021 study conducted by IPAC, anomalies detected in Hispanic data prompted the institute researchers to perform a deep dive on the data which resulted in interesting findings.
“The deep dive on the statewide motor vehicle data performed by IPAC’s team of leading researchers and experts from across the A&M system, has produced findings which will prompt for a better understanding of the racial profiling data across the state of Texas” said Dr. Alex del Carmen, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the founder and director of IPAC.
In the supplemental report, researchers found that Hispanics were 1.24 times more likely than whites to be subjected to a search; however, those searches produced significantly less contraband than searches of whites. Researchers located the source of the anomalies through the analysis of regional data.
For reporting purposes, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement divides the state into eight regions. The anomalous data identified was found in Region 7; an area covering Central Texas, including Austin.
The Texas Department of Public Safety reports all of its data in this region since its headquarters are in Austin, even though the stops occur statewide. A review of DPS racial profiling data found:
- Stops. Hispanics were more likely than whites to be stopped.
- Searches. Hispanics were more likely to be searched. Hispanics were searched at a rate of 5.4%, whites at a rate of 4.1%.
- Consent searches. Hispanics were more likely to experience a consent search. Of all searches conducted by DPS, only 19.5% of searches of whites were consent searches, whereas a staggering 32.1% of Hispanic searches were consent searches. This finding is significant because consent searches are discretionary.
- Contraband discovery. Hispanic searches were less likely than white searches to result in discovery of contraband. Only 28.5% of Hispanic searches resulted in contraband, compared to 39.6% of white searches.
- Racial profiling. These findings indicate the possibility that Texas DPS may be racially profiling Hispanics.