This research investigates the fairness and effectiveness of making a large number of bicycle stops as a proactive policing strategy designed to reduce unsafe riding and crime in Tampa, Florida. Public concern about the fairness and effectiveness of this tactic was magnified by a 2015 newspaper article that noted racial disparities in bicycle stops by the Tampa Police Department (TPD). Our analyses found that there are large racial disparities in bicycle stops, which cannot be explained by differences in ridership as measured by our benchmark, bicycle crashes with injury. The observed racial disparities in bicycle stops appear to be attributable to TPD’s crime control efforts, though we cannot rule out some racial bias. Given that crime control was a motivating factor for TPD’s use of bicycle stops, we assessed the effect of bicycle stops on crime using a natural experiment. We found that bicycle stops did not have a meaningful effect on crime.
- bicycle stops
- proactive policing
- racial profiling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)