Carding: Who gets stopped for street checks in Waterloo Region

Data from Waterloo Regional Police show officers have carded black individuals at a disproportionately high rate compared to the general population.

Waterloo Regional Police data shows that for a 10-year period, the number of black individuals stopped by officers for a street check was disproportionately higher than others when compared to the general population.

Demographic breakdown of visible minorities, as recorded by the National Household Survey in 2011. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

The 2011 National Household Survey found Waterloo region had a population of 469,935, and black individuals made up 10,485 of residents, or 2.23 per cent.

Police data showed that of 63,697 cases of carding – or street checks – officers stopped African-Canadian individuals 5,800 times, or 9.1 per cent of all checks.

According to data provided by the Waterloo Regional Police Service, officer conducted 63,697 street checks between 2005 and 2015 (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

There was a significant spike in street checks in 2012, 8,832 cases of carding, and 2013, when there were 8,500. The number of African-Canadian residents stopped in those two years were 9.4 percent and 9.1 per cent respectively. 

Although the number of checks went down in 2014, the number of black individuals stopped did rise to 10.3 per cent, but it dropped down to 8.6 per cent in 2015.

According to Waterloo Regional Police data, while black individuals were the subject of street checks nine per cent of the time, they only make up two per cent of Waterloo Region's general population. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

Kate Bueckert