Tints of Profiling: Why Is the NYPD Targeting Cars In Crown Heights?

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photo c/o Matthew Taub of Brooklyn Brief

What happens when cops go looking for perpetrators where they know they’re going to find them? Probably trouble. According to Brooklyn Brief, on Monday night, cops in Crown Heights created a checkpoint on Franklin Avenue a few blocks south of Eastern Parkway and asked drivers to roll up their windows in order to check the legality of their tints. Window checkpoints have been done before, and will almost definitely happen again, but this instance also reads like profiling.

Purposefully going to a less affluent neighborhood under false pretenses is unjust. Cops were looking for the small infractions, but were also hoping to catch other violations like warrants, DUIs, and drug possession. These types of checkpoints are also a way to catch people for other crimes. This is not to say illegal window tints are not a safety issue—too dark and drivers become invisible, posing a threat to pedestrians, cyclists, and even other drivers. But this isn’t just a crime happening in Crown Heights, and yet that’s where the cops are focused. It can feel like life in New York City has become a game of hide and seek, and the cops always have their eyes open when it comes to people of color or a lower economic class. The numbers support higher crime rates among minorities, but this is probably because the police are too busy with these sugar-coated checkpoints to check on the people in the gentrified neighborhoods.