What are the characteristics of persons who come into contact with the police for different reasons?
An estimated 31.4 million persons age 16 or older, or 13% of the population, requested assistance from police at least once in 2011, most commonly to report a crime or neighborhood disturbance. A similar percentage of females (13%) and males (13%) requested assistance from the police that year. A greater percentage of non-Hispanic white persons (14%) than Hispanic persons (10%) contacted the police for assistance. A slightly larger percentage of white persons (14%) than black persons (12%) requested police assistance. Persons ages 25 to 44 contacted the police to request assistance at higher rates than younger persons (ages 16 to 24) and older persons (age 65 or older).
About 10% of the 212.3 million U.S. drivers age 16 or older were stopped while operating a motor vehicle during their most recent contact with police. A greater percentage of male drivers (12%) than female drivers (8%) were pulled over in traffic stops. Across age groups, the highest percentage of stopped drivers was among drivers ages 18 to 24 (18%). A higher percentage of black drivers (13%) than white (10%) and Hispanic (10%) drivers age 16 or older were pulled over in a traffic stop during their most recent contact with police.
Less than 1% of the 241.4 million U.S. residents age 16 or older were involved in a street stop during their most recent contact with police. A greater percentage of males (1%) than females (less than 1%) were involved in street stops during 2011. Persons ages 16 to 24 were more likely than persons age 35 or older to be involved in street stops. While no differences were observed in the percentage of non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic populations age 16 or older involved in a street stop, among those who were stopped, a smaller percentage of blacks (38%) than Hispanics (63%) or whites (78%) felt the police behaved properly during the stop.