<p class="first" id="d5415873e94">Data on police stops can be examined to reflect
on the relative “opacity” of these
encounters and how aggregate patterns on the nature—not just the volume—of reported
stops relate to public scrutiny of the police. We hypothesize that public scrutiny
on police stops is positively related to the prevalence of opaque stop practices across
dimensions of “intrusiveness,” “rationale,” and “setting” derived from agency records.
We further argue that this relationship is influenced by neighborhood conditions in
the form of concentrated disadvantage, residential instability, and heterogeneity.
To develop these ideas, we draw on a publicly available NYPD dataset on police stops
to specify a series of fixed and random effects models that describe variation in
recorded stop practices across precincts (
<i>N</i> = 74) and overtime (
<i>T</i> = 7, 2007–2013). We relate these practices to neighborhood conditions derived
the Census and examine their association with rates of SQF complaints to the CCRB.
Results show considerable variation in indicators of opacity, particularly across
precincts. More importantly, we also find that rates of complaints are higher in precincts
that have more vaguely defined, intrusive stops. Results also suggest that concentrated
disadvantage is independently and positively related with higher rates of public scrutiny
of the police.