The Carrboro Board of Aldermen received a report on policing trends last week as part of an effort to determine whether local law enforcement officers were exhibiting racial biases.

According to Lydia Lavelle, the mayor of Carrboro, the report noted that approximately half of the people stopped for traffic violations within town limits were non-residents.

“They know roughly that 50 percent of the stops were Carrboro residents and then 50 percent were not Carrboro residents,” she stated.

The report also incorporated a statistical tool from RTI International that weighs the number of traffic stops made when race can be easily identified against traffic stops made after dark.

“[The tool] purports to take the number of stops the two hours before nightfall and the two hours after nightfall, and you do some degree of comparison to try to really dig into whether people are being stopped by being able to look at them,” explained Lavelle.

Data gleaned from the use of this tool suggests that traffic stops carried out in Carrboro are equitable, with no racial biases being demonstrated by law enforcement officers.

“It really showed that our stops over time did not differ significantly between the two hours before dark and the two hours after,” noted Lavelle.

Lavelle also mentioned that the number of overall traffic stops in the town had decreased slightly as a result of changes to the community policing model of the department.

“The data showed a dip over the last two years, I would say — a de-emphasis of regulatory stops and tickets,” she claimed.

The report was requested by Walter Horton, the chief of the Carrboro Police Department, and compiled by Sara Owens, crime analyst with the Town of Carrboro.

Photo by Carrboro Police Department.