When Darien police stop drivers in town, a higher percentage of those drivers are black or Hispanic than the population of those groups in town would indicate.
Yet town population doesn't indicate everything: residents share the streets with people who work in town, visit it or just pass through it. If the percentage of Hispanics and African Americans in both Darien and the three communities that border it were taken into account, slightly fewer blacks and quite a bit fewer Hispanics are stopped than their percentage of the area population.
Over the past three years, about 82 percent of drivers stopped by cops have been white, 12 percent black and about 15 percent Hispanic. Just under two-thirds have been men.
From year to year, the proportion of whites, blacks, Hispanics and people from other ethnic groups who are stopped on the roads by Darien police says relatively stable, at least in the past three years, from 2009 to 2011.
Because racial profiling by police is a concern of state officials, Connecticut mandates that its local police departments send annual reports on the number of drivers from various racial and ethnic groups who are stopped by police.
Unlike most police departments around the state, Darien sends in the reports, so the numbers can be looked up.
Police Chief Duane J. Lovello himself emails the reports to the African-American Affairs Commission and the chief state's attorney, said Capt. Frederick W. Komm, a spokesman for the department.
Komm released copies of the last three extremely short reports. Each annual report amounts to little more than three tables with a total of 11 numbers. (A copy of three years worth of reports is attached to this article.)
In early January, a group of state legislators held a news conference about racial profiling following a federal investigation which resulted in charges against East Haven police officers who have been accused of targeting Hispanic drivers, according to the Connecticut Mirror. The police officers have pleaded not guilty and have court cases pending.
The East Haven situation could well have been prevented if the state enforced the Racial Profiling Prohibition Act, one state representative told reporters. Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a statement saying that his administration and the Department of Transportation would make sure police departments collect and submit the required data.
State Sen. Bob Duff said back in December that he mandating the required reports.
Suspicion about the motives of police in stopping a car on Hoyt Street last November cropped up in the comments section of a Darien Patch article .
Facts and figures
The following tables do show statistical differences between populations and number of traffic stops, but they don't (and can't) explain why. Since the drivers on Darien roads are a mix of town residents and people from outside of town, it doesn't seem surprising that the percentage of traffic stops for each ethnic or racial group would tend to be somewhere between the percentages of that group in the population of Darien and the population of the surrounding area.
Traffic stops for African Americans, however, diverge more sharply than any other group. With no more than 104 black residents in town, police stopped black drivers 2,307 times in the past three years. That number is 11.7 percent of all Darien traffic stops, which mirrors the 12 percent of the black population of Darien and its bordering communities.
Year over year, the proportions of most groups tend to remain steady, even as the number of traffic stops in town has shrunk by about 10 percent, from 6,850 in 2009 to 6,169 last year, a drop of 619.
Race, ethnicity, population and traffic stops in and around Darien
19,752 (100%)20,732 (100%) 122,643 85,603 19,738 248,716 (100%) 916,829 (100%) 308M (100%) White 16,259 (82.3%) 19,508 (94%) 79,663 58,826 18,481 176,478 (71%) 685,900 (75%)
223M (72.4%)Black 2,307 (11.7%) 104 (0.5%) 17,061 12,187 197 29,599 (12%) 99,317 (11%) 38.9M (12.6%) Asian 412 (2.1%) 744 (3.6%) 9,675 4,098 663 15,180 (6.1%) 42,284 (4.6%)
14.7M (4.8%) American Indian 102 (0.5%) 20 (0.1%) 393 328 30 771 (0.3%) 2,384 (0.3%)
2.93M (0.9%) Hispanic 2,889 (14.7%*) 743 (3.6%) 29,188 20,770 570 51,271 (20.6%) 155,025 (17%)
50.5M (16.3%) Unknown 672 (3.4%)
*The number of traffic stops involving Hispanic drivers is taken from separate tables than the other figures. Those separate tables have a different total number of traffic stops, so the figures for Hispanics can't be compared to the other numbers with any precision. (Sources: Darien Police annual traffic stop reports and the U.S. Census for 2010.)
Race and ethnicity of drivers at Darien traffic stops, 2009-2011TOTAL 2009 2010 2011 TOTAL 19,752 (100%) 6,850 (100%) 6,733 (100%) 6,169 (100%) White 16,259 (82.3%) 5,709 (83.3%) 5,490 (81.5%) 5,060 (82%) Black 2,307 (11.7%) 813 (11.9%) 774 (11.5%) 720 (11.7%) Asian 412 (2.1%) 127 (1.9%) 152 (2.3%) 133 (1.2%)
Indian102 (0.5%) 31 (0.45%) 36 (0.5%) 35 (0.6%) Hispanic 2,889 (14.7%*) 950 (14%*) 980 (14%*) 959 (15.6%*) Unknown 672 (3.4%) 170 (2.5%) 281 (4.2%) 221 (3.6%)
*Percentages of Hispanics were calculated from a chart which had a different total number of traffic stops (6,776 in 2009; 6,669 in 2010; and 6,153 in 2011). (Sources: Darien Police annual traffic stop reports and the U.S. Census for 2010.)
Hispanic and non-Hispanic drivers stopped by Darien policeTOTAL 2009 2010 2011 TOTAL 19,598 6,776 6,669 6,153 Hispanic 2,889 (14.7%*) 950 (14%) 980 (14%) 959 (15.6%) Non-Hispanic 15,822 (80.7%) 5,548 (81.9%) 5,346 (80.2%) 4,928 (80.1%) Unknown 887 (4.5%) 278 (4.1%) 343 (5.1%) 266 (5.4%)
(Sources: Darien Police annual traffic stop reports.)
Editor's note: Some sentences in this article were rewritten at 8:49 a.m. to make them clearer.
This article originally was published on Thursday, Feb. 23. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.