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Equity in Law Enforcement

Equity in Law Enforcement

Change in Youth Arrests

  • Looking at change from 1997 to 2004, arrests of people under 18 years of age remained consistent in all counties (except Travis, see below), despite higher growth in the under-18 population.
  • Beginning in 2004, youth arrests increased, especially for Black* youth. While these arrests have decreased since 2006, the most recent year of data shows another increase.
Change in Youth Arrests

*Terminology note: Data reported use ‘Black’; CTSIP and other sources use ‘African-American.’

Change in Youth Arrests in Travis County

  • Looking at change from a base year of 1997, arrests of people under 18 years of age in Travis County have fluctuated widely. Further analysis reveals instability in the Austin Police Department data.
  • Since 2004, Hispanic youth are seeing higher arrest rates than other race/ethnic groups, while total arrests for all groups have decreased.

Change in Youth Arrests in Travis County

Perception of Equity

  • Nearly 85% of all residents have “some” or “a great deal” of confidence in local law enforcement, and confidence has generally improved in all areas since 2008.
  • However, almost 30% of African-Americans have “little” or “no” confidence in local law enforcement. This number has significantly decreased from nearly 40% in 2008, suggesting improving relations.
  • African-American confidence in criminal courts has also improved, from about 60% showing at least some confidence in 2008 to nearly 70% in 2010. However, almost 17% of African-Americans have “no” confidence in the courts, over twice the rate of any other group.
  • Overall, more than 65% of Central Texans have “some” or “a great deal” of confidence in the adult criminal justice system as a whole, yet nearly 20% of African-Americans have “no” confidence in the system.
Perception of Equity

Survey Question: How much confidence do you have in 1) the local police and law enforcement? 2) your city or county criminal courts? 3) the adult criminal justice system as a whole?

Survey Question: How much confidence do you have in 1) the local police and law enforcement? 2) your city or county criminal courts? 3) the adult criminal justice system as a whole?

Perception of Equity

Survey Question: How much confidence do you have in 1) the local police and law enforcement? 2) your city or county criminal courts? 3) the adult criminal justice system as a whole?

CURRENT STATE

African-American youth and adults face consistently higher rates of arrest and have much less confidence in the system than persons of other race or ethnicity.

IDEAL STATE

All Central Texans have equal access to justice, education, and economic advancement without regard to race or ethnicity.

CONTEXT

Throughout the country, race and ethnicity are a consistent dimension of public safety activities and discussions. Perceptions of inequitable treatment by law enforcement, even if contrary to data, corrode community cohesion as well as the effectiveness of law enforcement.

Pursuing equity in the practice and perception of law enforcement is often undermined by single incidents; we must work to avoid trends of such incidents.

ADDITIONAL MEASURES

Adult Arrest Rates

Reported Race/Ethnicity Hate Crimes By City

Confidence In Parole System

Use Of Force By Law Enforcement

SOURCES

Youth arrest data is recorded by county, offense type, age, race/ethnicity and gender. This data does not account for multiple arrests of the same person.

Texas Dept. of Public Safety

CTSIP Community Survey