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.


  1. They’ve been doing this weekly at that intersection (Franklin @ Union) for several months now. I’ve had the same thought… pretty much racial profiling. They aren’t doing it on Franklin north of E. Parkway, for example.

  2. i could be wrong here, but these seems like armchair journalism. did you talk to the cops? did you call the precinct for a statement? do you have any data to suggest that crown heights is targeted more often than dyker heights? your theory and intent could indeed be correct, but you havent done any work to validate it. so its just conjecture and opinion. which is ok if that is what bkmag is striving for. but i see that as being somewhat inconsistent with other posts here…. just food for thought, not a flame war.

  3. They did this same checkpoint a couple of months ago at Meeker Ave and Lorimer, pretty much the epitome of Williamsburg-dom. Was that hipster profiling? “Armchair journalism” is right.


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