The Science of Policing Equity

Public trust in law enforcement is alarmingly low in many communities nationwide, particularly in those experiencing violent crime coupled with intensive police presence. Research shows that positive police community relationships are crucial for safer communities: citizens are more likely to engage as witnesses and as partners in crime reduction if they believe in the legitimacy of police as equitable and impartial agents of the law. Yet many community members perceive law enforcement activities to be targeted toward—and biased against—non-white people.

Communities wracked by highly publicized shootings of unarmed people of color have called for both greater transparency and accountability on the part of the police. Likewise, law enforcement executives desire hard metrics on current practices and a way to measure changes in response to policies aimed at reducing bias and improving police-community relations.

This brief aims to address the needs of both communities through collaboration between two initiatives: The Center for Policing Equity’s National Justice Database (NJD) and the White House’s Police Data Initiative (PDI).

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