Does It Exist? Studying Citizens’ Attitudes of Racial Profiling

John Reitzel, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


A controversial issue in policing is the alleged use of racial profiling by police to stop, search, question, or frisk citizens. Currently, only a small amount of empirical research exists concerning the practice of racial profiling. The empirical evidence that does exist has shown substantial minority over-representation in both police stops and searches. Moreover, almost all studies to date have focused on empirical study of police practices, thus leaving out one crucial element—the perspective of citizens. In this study, the authors use data from a random sample of New York City residents to study their perceptions of—and experiences with—racial profiling. In particular, factors are examined that relate to the perception that racial profiling is widespread, justified, and the extent of direct experience that citizens have had with racial profiling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-183
Number of pages23
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • citizen attitudes
  • policing
  • racial profiling

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