Report raises questions of 'racial profiling' in Sacramento jaywalking citations

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee suggests there's a link between racial profiling and jaywalking in Sacramento. We took a deeper look.

After the Sacramento Bee published an article titled, "'Racial profiling’? Jaywalking tickets disproportionately given to black people in Sacramento," local officials became upset. 

In the article the writers use numbers provided by the Sacramento Police Department that state 316 jaywalking citations were given out in Sacramento and nearly half were given to black people and 233 of those citations were given in District 2.

After public outrage and Councilmember Allen Warren opening an investigation, the department released a statement, explaining why there was a concentration of tickets in one particular area of Sacramento:

"To achieve the goal of improving pedestrian safety within the Del Paso Boulevard Business Improvement District, the Sacramento Police Department used the OTS grant funding to conduct directed enforcement activities. The chart above reflects that effort with 68 percent of all the citations within the City of Sacramento coming from the area of three intersections within the PBID, or 92 percent of all citations issued in Council District 2."

Despite the department's justification, locals in Del Paso Heights -- as well as Warren -- are weary of the numbers and feel like the community is being targeted.

A black woman named Justina, who lives in Del Paso Heights told ABC 10 about being cited. 

"They said I was a moving violation? I said how am I doin' that when I am just walkin' across the street?" Justina said. 

And she was not the only one, several locals in Del Paso Heights shared their personal experiences with jaywalking citations. 

Councilmember Warren is frustrated, "I don't know if there is a good reason for this imbalance in these numbers other than people being profiled."

Warren wants more details from Sacramento Police Department including which streets in his district these citations were given. 

"These incidents challenge us in a way that I thought we were past as a society," Warren said. "Yet we still have to deal with it, hopefully some good will come out of this."

Many others argue that there is a need for more crosswalks in District 2 to keep the number of 'jaywalkers' down. But in order for that to happen, Interm City Traffic Engineer, Ryan Moore told ABC 10, data has to be taken. 

"Well there is engineering criteria, it is a data driven process and we look at the number of pedestrians in the area, number of pedestrians that cross in a four hour period, in a one hour period," Moore explained. "And based on all that information we decide if it meets the warrants for a crosswalk or not."

Moore said the city does not discriminate on who gets a crosswalk and who doesn't. He also said the city does not know how many crosswalks it has. Currently there is a campaign called “Vision Zero” which aims to "reduce the number of pedestrian deaths to ZERO." Moore said this campaign includes tracking crosswalks, adding crosswalks and also working with police on enforcement. 

 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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