Racial and Ethnic Profiling

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Racial and Ethnic Profiling by Law Enforcement Name: Institutional affiliation: Racial and Ethnic Profiling by Law Enforcement Introduction Racial and ethnic profiling is the use of ethnic, racial, religious or national characteristics as a way of isolating people for security or identity checks. It is a practice whereby security, intelligence and law enforcement officers make decisions about their suspicions of a person based on the person’s race or ethnicity rather than reasonable suspicion (Ethan, 2013). There have been raging debates as to whether racial and ethnic profiling should be used. People who support racial and ethnic profiling argue that certain ethnicities or races are more likely to commit crime as compared to other groups. They claim that profiling is then not about race or ethnicity but about carrying out the most proficient fighting operations to target crime. They, therefore, argue that have been targeted by ethnicity or race is simply the regrettable cost of crime fighting that is effective. Therefore, the supporters of racial or ethnic profiling are under the assumption that the use of appearance based on race or ethnicity as one of the factors for targeting possible criminals in fact yields better results (Harris, 2002). However, in a study conducted by David Harris a Law Professor, these assumptions are faulty. First of all, as of the late 1990’s, no one in the law enforcement departments had bothered to test whether these assumptions had some truth to them. Dr. Harris conducted a study of what he referred to as “hit rates” which referred to the rates at which a hit was made by the police (i.e. find drugs, an illegal gun or make an arrest). The studies that were conducted made a comparison on the rates at which the police had a hit when they searched people after stopping them on the
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