Apartheid Policing in PGH: Why Defunding the Police Can’t Wait

Apartheid Policing in PGH: Why Defunding the Police Can’t Wait (2020) highlights the ongoing glaring racial disparities in traffic stops, frisks, warrantless search and seizures, arrests, and use of force by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. The report notes that in 2019,  Black people made up only 23.2% of the Pittsburgh population, and yet they made up 43.6% of individuals involved in traffic stops, 71.4% of all frisks, 69% of individuals subject to warrantless search and seizures, and 63% of all arrests conducted by the Pittsburgh Police.  The report illustrates how the alleged “peacekeeping” role of police is exaggerated: only 6% of all crimes reported to the Pittsburgh Police in 2019 were violent crimes. The vast majority of crimes reported were minor infractions like disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, and vandalism. In in cases of violent crime, police had a very low clearance rate, especially when victims were Black. The report calls for an immediate $40 million cut to the City’s police budget and reallocation of these funds to social services, including education, housing, and healthcare.

Date of Publication: December 15, 2020

Lead Authors / Contributors: Dolly Prabhu; design by William Lukas