Last year, the Tampa Bay Times published a story on the racial disparities in police enforcement of black bicyclists. The article alleged that the Tampa Police had, in effect, a stop-and-frisk policy of black bicyclists. They called it the bicycle blitzkrieg, and 8 out of 10 people ticketed were black.
As a result of that report, the US Dept. of Justice conducted an investigation. The results were just published, which can read at http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-w0801-pub.pdf.
The report confirms the allegations. The police department did have a policy of targeting cyclists in high-crime neighborhoods. Although these neighborhoods are predominantly black, the report stresses that this does not mean the program was racially motivated.
The stated purpose of the bicycle blitzkrieg was to: 1. recover stolen bicycles, 2. reduce traffic accidents, and 3. “pro-actively” reduce crime. The program failed to achieve any of these goals. Hardly any stolen bikes were recovered. The areas targeted for blitzkrieg did not have high accident rates to begin with. And the program did not reduce crime levels.