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Chicago Police 5 Times More Likely To Search Black Drivers Than Whites: Report

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 29, 2015 3:35PM

Black drivers are five times more likely to be searched by police than white drivers in Chicago, according to a police data analysis by the New York TImes. Yet blacks in Chicago were 30 percent less likely to be found with any illegal goods like guns than white drivers.

In Illinois overall, police are twice as likely to search black drivers at a traffic stop than white drivers.

These alarming stats are not just a local problem; the trend spreads across the nation. Even though black drivers are three times more likely to be subjected to traffic stop searches than white drivers, they're less likely to be caught with guns or drugs than white drivers, according to the Washington Post.

The Times came to these conclusions after analyzing police traffic stops in four different states: Illinois, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Connecticut. The only state where black drivers were more likely to be found with contraband than white drivers was Rhode Island.

Illinois (surprisingly) makes its traffic stop data readily available. The data shows that only a very small fraction of drivers are searched during a traffic stop: Chicago police stopped stopped over 200,000 white drivers between 2009 and 2013 but only searched 906, and 237 had illegal goods (that's 26 percent). They stopped 300,000 black drivers during the same time period and searched 6,593, and 1,232 had contraband (that's 19 percent).

A few suburbs were also analyzed. Hoffman Estates pulled over 1,815 black drivers in 2009. They searched seven and found no illegal goods. During the same year, they pulled over 15,000 white drivers. They searched 40 of them and found 13 with contraband.