Tribune finds that Chicago Police continue to conduct DUI Roadblocks mainly in black and latino neighborhoods

I am going to liberate a large chunk of this story by Angela Caputo from behind the Chicago Tribune’s paywall.  However, before you get to this, I do have to make note that although the Chicago Police Department has not set up DUI roadblocks in white areas such as Jefferson Park, they have done DUI strike force patrols, which sometimes includes the use of the mobile breath alcohol testing unit which is normally used during roadblocks.  Perhaps the Police Department was hoping it could get the Tribune off its back by doing the strike patrols without having to enrage the community (which has a heavy concentration of Chicago Police officers living there) with backups and delays caused by roadside safety checks.

Here is Ms. Caputo’s report:

Months after revealing the Chicago Police Department set up sobriety checkpoints almost exclusively in African-American and Latino communities, the Tribune has found that the pattern continues.

Between March and August, Chicago police scheduled 14 roadside checks, pulling over drivers randomly to check for drunken driving and other violations. Nine of the checks were in majority black police districts. Four checkpoints occurred in a predominantly Latino districts. There was one in a majority white area. That’s despite the fact that the Tribune has in the past shown some predominantly white districts in Chicago had more alcohol-related crashes than many minority districts.

Of Chicago’s 22 police districts, nine are majority black, five white, four Latino and four have no racial majority.

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. An earlier Tribune analysis of state traffic data found that the majority black district ranked 10th out of the city’s 22 districts for the number of alcohol-related crashes in recent years.

The Englewood District followed closely behind in crashes, yet police scheduled two roadside checks in the predominantly African-American South Side district in recent months. On March 20, police scheduled a checkpoint in the majority black Grand Crossing District even though the area has had the fewest alcohol-related crashes in the city.

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.

The May Tribune report analyzed Chicago DUI checkpoints from 2010 through June of last year and compared the data with crash data by police district. The Tribune found no checkpoints had been conducted in the Jefferson Park District since at least February 2010…

Police use crash and citation data and complaints to decide where to set up roadside checks or conduct roving DUI patrols, Guglielmi said. Authorities used roving DUI patrols in white districts in recent months, which, experts say, are a less visible deterrent but can be more effective in snaring drunken drivers. Such patrols, however, require probable cause before pulling over a vehicle, whereas checkpoints enable police to make contact with drivers who ordinarily would not have been stopped…

The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that $470,000 was spent largely on overtime to cover both types of nighttime enforcement in 2014. Chicago police logged more violations than any other municipality in Illinois that year. Of the nearly 7,300 citations issued, 244 involved a drunken driving arrest. That amounted to 30 citations — primarily for minor moving and nonmoving violations — for every drunken driver arrested.

The checkpoints and roving patrols, including overtime, are paid for with federal grant money. Federal guidelines require departments to use objective criteria, such as a high incidence of alcohol-related crashes, to determine where to set up the checks and patrols.

In May, the Tribune revealed 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 data showed no clear indication that a high number of checkpoints is correlated with few alcohol-related crashes. Some police districts with few checkpoints also had few crashes. Some districts with several checkpoints also had a high number of crashes.

If you have a subscription to the Tribune, you can read the whole story here:

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