RoPRA

Media

Articles

quote
2022
ProPublica
“The FBI is very clear that it doesn’t matter what the prosecutors think,” said Jacob Kaplan, a Princeton University criminologist and the chief data scientist at Research on Policing Reform and Accountability. “These are police statistics. If they think it’s a murder, then it’s a murder. Even if the prosecutor later says this isn’t a murder, like a prosecutor drops the charges, that doesn’t matter.”
Jeremy Kohler
Tom Scheck
quote
2022
City of Chicago Office of Inspector General
If some racial or ethnic groups are stopped or detained by police at higher rates, this may lead to disparities in police use of force against them, even if this disparity is not detectable in the data on force used once those stops have occurred. In recognition of this methodological challenge, OIG reports on race- and ethnicity-based disparities in uses of force across multiple phases of police-civilian interactions, beginning with the initial stop.
William Marback
Nathaniel Wackman
quote
2021
Penn Today
Knox touched on a wide variety of studies his group has already conducted, including one that suggests with new, telling data that diversity reforms can improve police treatment in minority communities. He also hinted at the broader, innovative tools and research to come from his team, including their work building a national inventory of civilian oversight organizations; creating new methods for incorporating traffic sensors and red-light cameras to improve upon dark data; and the formation of a system that transforms body camera footage into structured data used to increase accountability.
Laura Hertzler
quote
2021
ScienceNews
Failing to account for events that don’t happen — police allowing a jaywalker to pass, opting not to make an arrest (usually for minor issues like possessing a small amount of drugs) or never firing a drawn gun — is problematic, says policing expert Dean Knox of the University of Pennsylvania.
Sujata Gupta
quote
2021
The Daily Pennsylvanian
“We all see injustice in the world and we all do what we can to address it,” Knox told Wharton News. “Pushing this research forward, and getting it into the hands of policymakers, is how I can help the most.”
Sejin Park
quote
2021
Science Magazine
One way to make sense of imperfect policing data is using causal inference – an increasingly important subfield of statistics. “The goal of causal inference is to understand the how and why that underlies what we can see,” said Knox. “Put differently, it aims to say whether things would have unfolded differently if we had done X instead of Y.”
Walter Beckwith
quote
2021
BBN Times
While police departments and officers are tasked with solving a complicated social welfare problem, the structure of institutional incentives is relatively simple. The dominant incentives faced by police departments are to develop policies which provide indirect benefits—to make civilians feel safe and to see the police “doing something” about crime.
Timothy Taylor
quote
2021
FiveThirtyEight
And it wasn’t just murder that went up in 2020, either. Aggravated assault — an assault that involved a weapon or seriously injured the victim — went up too, with assaults involving a gun driving a lot of the uptick.
Chat
quote
2021
Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
The new system will provide an entirely new perspective on police-civilian interactions beyond traditional officer-generated reports, which the researchers hope will enable more effective supervision and accountability for misconduct.
Riis Williams
quote
2021
Duke Department of Economics
Ba’s research is focused on the economics of crime and labor. He has always been interested in learning more about how the two intersect. “I realized that no one was focusing on the unintended consequences of policing, like what is the impact of arresting someone who was actually an innocent?” he said when he first came to Duke in 2018. “What kind of incentives do police officers have? What is the objective function of a police officer? And what are the consequences of these actions?”
Elizabeth Richardson
quote
2021
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia will soon have a new police oversight body after City Council approved legislation Thursday to create a system that would replace an existing commission long criticized for lacking the power or funding to provide effective oversight.
Laura McCrystal
David Gambacorta
quote
2021
NBC Philadelphia
“The findings confirmed why the PAC, and the PPD, believed this report was necessary-that the disciplinary process is in dire need of a transformative overhaul,” according to the report signed by PAC executive director Anthony Erace and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
Brian McCrone
quote
2021
City of Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission
The goal of this Collaborative Reform was for the PPD to be transparent about its disciplinary process so the PAC could help pinpoint exactly which processes within the Department contribute to missed opportunities for accountability. For too long the community has asked for transparency, change, and a more equitable disciplinary process. This report highlights specifically how we can reimagine police discipline.
Anthony Erace
Danielle Outlaw
quote
2021
WHYY
The PAC report’s findings, which reflect the pro-bono work of academics at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, are based on an analysis of more than 9,000 allegations from more than 3,500 civilian complaints filed against PPD officers over the five-year period.
Aaron Moselle
quote
2021
Boston Review
“Existing empirical work in this area is producing a misleading portrait of evidence as to the severity of racial bias in police behavior,” the authors conclude. Such techniques “dramatically underestimate or conceal entirely the differential police violence faced by civilians of color.”
Lily Hu
quote
2021
Wharton
Among this year’s winning research topics: developing tools to analyze policing data, including large volumes of body-worn camera video, to monitor racial bias and suggest evidence-based reforms.
Press Release
quote
2021
ScienceNews
Those differences arose primarily because Black officers were less likely to stop and use force against Black civilians. Black officers also relied less on discretionary enforcement activities, like stopping people for “suspicious behavior,” and focused less on petty crimes, such as drug offenses. Black and white police officers’ arrest rates for violent crime were more comparable.
Maria Temming
quote
2021
AP News
“We see two groups of officers going out, and they’re treating the same group of civilians differently,” Knox said. “It’s troubling.”
Christine Fernando
Marion Renault
quote
2021
Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
“Sometimes errors are very nuanced or even debatable, and these disputes can exist in gray areas where it’s not clear who is right and who is wrong,” Mummolo said. “But sometimes, errors are very clear-cut, provable, and simple matters of logic, and as scientists we need to be able to tell the difference.”
Bianca Ortiz-Miskimen
quote
2020
Block Club Chicago
Violations of citizens’ constitutional rights decreased 25-34 percent once police officers became aware their complaint history would become public, Ba said.
Maxwell Evans
quote
2020
WIRED
So here’s some advice for scientists and journals: If you’re thinking of publishing a paper on a controversial topic, don’t simply rely on your conventional review process—bring in a Red Team to probe for vulnerabilities.
Adam Marcus
Ivan Oransky
quote
2020
FiveThirtyEight
The data we have pick up halfway through the encounter, after officer bias very likely has already exerted an effect.
Laura Bronner
quote
2020
FiveThirtyEight
“Who are the people deciding what an ‘optimal’ use of force is?” said Ba. “Are they the people who are experiencing brutality themselves? In almost all cases, no.”
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
Maggie Koerth
quote
2020
Chicago Tribune
Ba’s post tagged Uhlig and said, “I sat in your class in Winter 2014: (1) You talked about scheduling a class on MLK Day (2) You made fun of Dr. King and people honoring him (3) You sarcastically asked me in front of everyone whether I was offended.”
Elyssa Cherney
quote
2019
Bloomberg Opinion
You know which version of Broken Windows really does appear to work? Fixing broken windows.
Justin Fox
quote
2018
The Atlantic
If America is serious about improving police behavior tomorrow, policy analysts need to know what police are doing today. We need the data, not just for some cities, but for all cities; not just for some years, but for all years. Republicans and Democrats should work together to impose a requirement that police agencies adopt a standard set of practices for recording data on the behavior of their officers and deposit that data regularly in a centralized public archive. These data should include the date, time, and location of police-citizen interactions, as well as enforcement outcomes and information on the use of force. The data should also be maintained indefinitely so analysts can measure changes over time. The scope of this effort is of a sufficient scale that it would likely require federal mandates and funding, but if better policing is the goal, open data is the first step.
Jonathan Mummolo

Interviews

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November 15, 2021
RoPRA Co-Founder Dean Knox joins Wharton Business Daily guest host Janet Alvarez to discuss the “dark data” of policing – and why it matters for evaluating police activity and racial bias.
K@W Logo
October 20, 2020
RoPRA Co-Founders Dean Knox and Jonathan Mummolo discuss their research on racial bias in policing, and the ways that data can be used to inform and evaluate policing reforms.
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September 25, 2020
RoPRA Co-Founder Dean Knox joins Wharton Business Daily host Dan Loney to explore how systemic racism manifests in policing.

Videos

2022

Policing Crisis Conference Keynote

2022

Reproducible and Transferrable Research

Play Video
2021

Engaging Minds

2021

Learning from Contaminated Data: Insights from Racial Bias in Police-Civilian Contact

Play Video
2021

Administrative Records Mask Racially Biased Policing

Play Video
2020

Estimating Racial Bias with Contaminated Data

Play Video
2020

New Faculty Interview: Bocar Ba