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Vehicle Stops Report Released

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/vehiclesto_1461.mp3

A new report shows an increase in racial disparity when it comes to vehicle stops in Missouri. Michele Skalicky has more.

Attorney General Jay Nixon presented the 7th annual report on traffic stops in MO to the governor and the General Assembly.

The report provides racial and ethnic information about drivers who were stopped by MO law enforcement in the state in 2006.

A law passed in 2000 requires all officers in Missouri to report specific information for each vehicle stop made in the state.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste says there were a couple of noteworthy items in the report. One is, the number of overall stops increased from 1.5 million in 2005 to 1.6 million last year. He says there could be a number of reasons for that.

And he says reporting techniques have gotten better, and that may also explain the increase.

Another noteworthy item in the report is an increase in the disparity index for African-American and Hispanic drivers.

In other words, the report indicates that African-American drivers were 57% more likely to be stopped than white drivers, while Hispanic drivers were 15% more likely to be stopped than white drivers.

Holste says communities might use the information in the report to work to make sure that drivers aren't pulled over simply because they're of a certain race or ethnic background.

More than 630 law enforcement agencies across MO submitted data for the report. The number of agencies that did not submit reports as required by law dropped from 32 in 2005 to 19 in 2006. Holste says a list of those agencies has been turned over to Governor Blunt who has the authority to withhold state funding from them.

The report is available on the Attorney General's website, ago.mo.gov.