Wednesday, July 22, 2020

North Carolina Criminal Justice Analysis Center Announces Results of Study on Race and Gender in Traffic Stops Statewide

Jul 22, 2020

North Carolina Criminal Justice Analysis Center (CJAC) announces Part 1 of the study on statewide trends regarding traffic stops in the Justice Analysis Review (JAR) July 2020 issue.  This study is part of the North Carolina Traffic Stop Reporting Program Series.  

The study which is Part 1 of the series, found that the majority of the traffic stops in North Carolina from 2009-19 were speed limit violations (40%) or vehicle regulatory and equipment violations (29%). These violations account for 69% of all stops for the period.  Part 1 of this series also presents the racial disparities among drivers being stopped and the purpose of the traffic stop.

Beginning in 2009, the number of overall traffic stops reported annually increased for a few years and then decreased by 13% by 2019, while the projected driving population increased 14% over the period. The rate of stops for Black drivers decreased by 15% between 2009 and 2019, while the rate of stops for white drivers fell by 28% and other/unknown races decreased by 30% over the period. In 2019, the rate of stops for Black drivers was more than twice that of white drivers and almost 1.5 times that of other races (including unknown). Click for detailed view of review.

“The Criminal Justice Analysis Center has been hard at work conducting non-partisan research and analysis to inform and support criminal justice decision-making,” stated Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks.  “The study will serve to identify key criminal justice measures which can help evaluate police interactions with the public and improve law enforcement services.” 

North Carolina General Statute § 143B-903 mandated law enforcement officials across the state collect and maintain information about traffic stops. To date, those efforts have generated a database containing details for more than 25 million traffic stops, which provided the necessary data for CJAC to study.


  • In 2018, DPS Secretary Erik A. Hooks re-established what was previously known as the Statistical Analysis Center, a data clearinghouse within the Governor’s Crime Commission (GCC). 
  • The unit, which is now known as the Criminal Justice Analysis Center, serves as the state’s Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) and works to collect, analyze and interpret data to help inform criminal justice policy.
  • The Justice Analysis Review (JAR) is a brief topic paper on a criminal justice issue in North Carolina.  It is produced by the CJAC within GCC.  
  • This is the first of several JARs analyzing traffic stop data.

The Governor’s Crime Commission members make recommendations to the governor and the secretary of the Department of Public Safety on federal grants for the state's criminal justice system, crime victims' services and juvenile justice. Federal block grants are awarded each year to government, education and social service agencies to start new and innovative programs and to continue efforts to reduce crime.


Related Topics: