In the article “Going Nowhere Fast
” [News, Feb. 7], writer Austin Sanders reports on significant disparities between traffic stops/arrest rates for Black/African American drivers and white drivers. His argument would be even more compelling were he to interpret his statistics correctly. If Black people make up only 8% of the population of Austin but 15% of all traffic stops, then they are overrepresented by almost 88% (87.5%, to be exact) in stops. Similarly, since white people make up 54% of Austin’s population and only 47% of the traffic stops, white drivers are underrepresented by 13%, not just 7% as Sanders states.
Later in the article, OPO Director Farah Muscadin suggests that (my quotes) “the rate of stops and arrests is double that of a particular demographic’s share of the population.” Her statement is supported by an analysis similar to that above, but not the (inaccurate) analysis Sanders provides.
Note to ed.: If Sanders misinterpreted similarly the stats for arrests stemming from stops, then the 25% of arrests being Black people (Sanders’ 17% plus the population rate of 8%) constitutes an overrepresentation of that minority by over 300%! In the same manner, white drivers composing 31% of arrests (the group being 54%, minus the 23% “underage” Sanders cites) constitutes an even larger underrepresentation of that group, close to 43%.