The Attorney General’s Office announced today the release of the latest annual vehicle stops report.
The report is a collection of data from all over Missouri covering all vehicle stops in the state from 2019. It covers information from more than 500 Missouri law enforcement agencies and presents data on race, arrest rates, contraband, and other factors. The report was established by a bill passed in 2000.
The report showed a total of 1,524,640 vehicle stops, resulting in 102,755 searches and 74,553 arrests across the state of Missouri. The data shows that about 1.16 million white motorists were stopped in 2019, about 29 percent of the population of legal aged white drivers. In comparison, 297,608 black motorists were stopped last year, making up 57 percent of that demographic.
Data released last year was similar to that found in the 2019 report: More than 1.1 million white drivers, or about 30 percent, were stopped compared to nearly 300,000 black drivers, or around 57 percent of that demographic.
The report also indicated search rates by race. Black and Hispanic motorists were searched at a rate of 8.86 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively — above the average for all drivers. White drivers were searched at a rate of 6.23 percent, while Asians were searched at 2.83 percent.
White motorists also had a contraband hit rate of 35.9 percent versus a similar 34.9 percent rate for black drivers. The arrest rates for black and Hispanic drivers were 6.21 and 6.34 percent respectively, greater than the 4.55 percent of white drivers, 4.68 percent of American Indians, and 2.34 percent of Asians facing arrests.
The report also included data on the disparity index, a measure of a population’s stop rates compared to the group’s number of legal aged drivers. A value of 1 means the stop rates are equal to the proportion of the population, meaning that numbers above 1 are an overrepresentation of the sample group.
The report found the disparity index of white drivers to be .92, while the disparity index of black drivers is 1.79. Other demographics all fall below .7 according to the report.
This data is based on a revised 2018 population estimate metric, according to the report.
“Aggregating and producing the annual vehicle stops report is an incredibly important duty of the Attorney General’s Office, and a duty that I take seriously,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement. “This report helps law enforcement agencies and others identify potential disparities and areas for improvement. It’s my hope that this report will ensure that moving forward, Missourians are receiving the best possible protection from our state’s law enforcement.”
A slate of changes is set to be included in next year’s report, including three new questions related to zip codes, officer assignments, and the reasoning behind a citation, as well as additional options to officer’s responses and reports on stops for better analysis. These changes reflect issues brought up in the past over reports not giving enough detail to fully depict the realities of a stop.
Find the full report here.