One in three people arrested say they are victims of profiling in Montreal
One in three people who have been arrested by the police in Montreal and who have declared it say they are the victim of profiling because of their appearance or their origin, according to preliminary and non-exhaustive data listed by the STOPMTL.ca platform, a participatory mapping project of citizen inquiries.
The project was deployed by the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) with the aim of obtaining more data, as studies have shown that a minority of arrests by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM ) is logged. Citizens were able to report the arrests they experienced on the online platform.
Could this be racial profiling
Of the 365 arrests recorded and selected for the study, 30% were judged by the person arrested as having been based on their appearance or identity. “This result confirms the concerns about social and racial profiling expressed repeatedly by the public and suggested by the SPVM data,” said the project’s principal researcher and professor of criminology, Carolyn Côté-Lussier, in a press release.
In addition, black people, gay men and bisexual people are overrepresented in the study data. For black people, this confirms the findings of the studies conducted by the SPVM. For sexual orientation, the police do not list it in their figures.
In its report, the INRS recognizes that its STOPMTL.ca platform may not be able to reach Arab and indigenous people. Indeed, all things considered, the latter are not more likely to report their arrest on the platform than the rest of the general population. However, the SPVM data show that these populations also experience profiling and are disproportionately more questioned.
A minority of participants consider his arrest unjustified, ie 43%, while the rest of the respondents consider that it was justified. This would demonstrate a success in bringing together various testimonies, announced the research group.
More data needed
The distribution of listed arrests is unequal between the boroughs. Indeed, 60% of these took place in only seven boroughs, namely Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (13%), Ville-Marie (12%), Le Plateau-Mont-Royal (8%), Le Sud-Ouest (8%), Montréal-Nord (7%) and Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension (7%).
This result is consistent with SPVM data, which shows that it is in these sectors that the police make the most arrests, notes Professor Côté-Lussier. It should be noted, however, that the arrests in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension are overrepresented in the STOPMTL.ca report, compared to the SPVM report, which nevertheless places these districts among those recording the most arrests.
On the contrary, Saint-Léonard accounts for 3.77% of the arrests reported by the SPVM, and 1% of those reported by STOPMTL.ca. For Ville-Marie, the SPVM notes that more than 30% of these arrests take place there, while STOPMTL.ca only lists 12% of the total arrests reported there.
To have an even more precise idea of the places of these arrests, such as metro stations or schools, the researchers will have to collect even more data. The INRS also invites the population to actively participate in its database, and to report each arrest experienced.
The study is the fruit of the work of an INRS research team, in collaboration with Concordia University, McGill University and University College London, an institution based in the British capital.