The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is still concentrating its roadside sobriety checkpoints in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods, a recent Chicago Tribune analysis reveals. The Tribune’s new report, published September 11, comes several months after a May Tribune analysis demonstrated the same disparity.
In May, the Tribune revealed that the predominantly white Jefferson Park (16th) police district had 162 alcohol-related crashes and deaths between 2010 and 2013 — and yet the police scheduled zero roadside checkpoints in that area during those years.
During that same time period, the Austin (15th) police district had 39 alcohol-related crashes and deaths, and 10 scheduled roadside checkpoints. Similarly, the Harrison (11th) police district had 91 alcohol-related crashes and deaths, and 15 scheduled roadside checkpoints.
Based on its May analysis, the Tribune concluded, “In Chicago, police targeted minority districts with sobriety checkpoint though many ranked low for the number of alcohol-related car crashes and fatalities. Meanwhile, similar stops were rarely, if ever, scheduled in predominately white districts.”
The Tribune noted that, “during the last five years, 84 percent of the 152 sobriety checkpoints scheduled in Chicago occurred in areas populated mostly by minorities while roadways in areas with more DUI-related crashes that are predominantly white are checked less often or not at all.”
The Tribune’s analysis was based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation and U.S. Census data.
In its follow-up analysis, the Tribune reported that the disparate pattern of roadside checkpoint scheduling continues.
“No corner of the city had more checkpoints than the Harrison District on the city’s West Side, where police have scheduled three of the random stops since March,” the Tribune noted.
“Meanwhile, no checkpoints were scheduled in the majority white Jefferson Park District despite ranking third citywide for the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Police officials have maintained the lack of checkpoints there has nothing to do with the fact that roughly one-fifth of the city’s police officers and their families live there.”
Anthony Guglielmi, a CPD spokesman, told the Tribune that the “purpose of these safety checks is to make the streets safer, and they are a success,” adding that the police do more than roadside checkpoints to enforce DUI laws.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), chairman of the Black Caucus, told the Tribune the disparate stops have a “racial undertone” and recommended that the city hold a public hearing on the issue.