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When I'm driving around the northern parts of the map as Franklin, the police seem to be on more of a hair trigger than they are when Trevor or Michael is around. They seem quicker to respond and it seems easier to increase your wanted level from one to two stars.

Unfortunately this is just a theory at the moment and it's difficult to test but I wondered if anyone else had noticed this or had any information about it.

It would make sense for the police to be more racist in Blaine County because that's the type of place it is (try going to play darts as Franklin and see the reaction you get), and also I guess Driving While Black is more serious in a place where everybody is white.

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  • It does seem so, though, I can not be positive until I have actually seen the game files for myself, so for a definitive answer from me, you'll have to wait for the PC release, Sorry!
    – MrCandybar
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 23:42
  • did you rob any stores there as him more than the others? Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 2:31
  • @ratchetfreak barely visited there at all tbh
    – toryan
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 2:51

2 Answers 2

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No.

There's a fan theory about GTA 5 travelling around the forum world -- that the in-game cops are guilty of racially profiling. There are three protagonists in the game, two white, and one black, and people on the internet suspect that the police are a little more enthusiastic about enforcing the laws on Franklin, the black one. Here are a couple of examples, first from a forum, second two from Twitter:

[...]

A Rockstar rep has confirmed to Forbes that this is not actually the case. The cops are programmed to respond the same way to all three protagonists. In my play through, I've noticed that they behave very aggressively no matter who you are, which might account for some of the stories that are popping up. In this world, loitering is punishable by instant execution. It says something about the depth of the world that Rockstar has built that players start to see this sort of emergent behavior even when it's not actually there.

(Emphasis mine) Source: Rockstar: 'GTA 5' Cops Not Racist — Forbes

"This is absolutely false, the in-game police don't treat one lead character any differently from the others," Rockstar said in a statement.

(Emphasis mine) Source: The Franklin Conspiracy: Why Gamers Decided The Police In "GTA V" Are Racist — BuzzFeed News

YouTube channel "The Game Theorists" has made a video about the results of their experiment on this supposed game mechanic.

They ran different tests: holding a gun while walking past police, going up and talking to the police; and while in a car, pulling up to the police and honking at them once before driving away. They did this five times each on all three characters and at three police stations: at Vinewood, Paleto Bay, and South Los Santos.

They used the following point system: no response is worth 0 points, an aggressive but non-violent response is worth 1 point, and an arrest or murder with the star counter going up is worth 2 points.

Holding a gun while walking past police garnered 0 points (no response) in all tests.

Vinewood, Los Santos

[...] just as Rockstar claimed, everyone was treated basically the same. When driving past honking at the police, none of the three characters elicited any sort of response across all 15 trials. And when we moved on to the second test having each character go up and speak with the police, every single time the interaction resulted in some level of aggression. Michael and Franklin both received three aggressive responses and two responses with full-on force and Trevor had four general aggressive responses and only one with force. Chalk that minor difference up to randomness or the fact that a drugged out white dude on the street in the daytime is a common sight in central Hollywood. And honestly, after round one, everything is looking pretty darn fair. Zero responses in the car. Five responses of fairly similar aggression across all three characters. Seems pretty colorblind.

Points: Franklin: 7, Trevor: 6, Michael: 7

Paleto Bay, Blaine County

Here if we were looking to prove police bias against the black Franklin, we found the exact opposite. Franklin was stopped the least. In the car, he was ignored every time, and talking to the cops only prompted three responses, one of which was violence. Michael also got away scot-free in the car but was harassed four times for talking to the cops, with two interactions turning violent. But Trevor here was the oddball, who was far and away harassed the most. Stopped all five times for talking to the cops, with things turning violent twice. Then in the car, he received a response twice. All of a sudden, the point difference here is pretty pronounced with Franklin sporting four points, Michael with six, and Trevor with nine.

Points: Franklin: 4, Trevor: 9, Michael: 6.

South Los Santos

If there's going to be police bias against the black character in the game it would happen here, and you know what? It did. And it would be difficult to chalk this difference up to random number generation. Let's look at the data. When driving around, honking in South Los Santos, rich white Michael and crazy white Trevor both prompted only one response, and it was nonviolent. Franklin meanwhile, was harassed four times and of those instances, one was violent. That's a huge difference. Off the car trial alone, Michael and Trevor are sporting one point and Franklin is already at five. So then we went on to look at the characters talking to the cops. Rich white Michael was bothered twice, both times a non-violent response. By contrast, Franklin was harassed all five times, two of which turned violent. In fact, looking at the point breakdown of all the characters across all the trials in South Los Santos, Michael had only three points of police attention. Trevor had eight and Franklin had 12. In other words, this breaks down exactly as we would expect. The poorer characters were seen as more threatening in a lower-income area while rich whit*y skated by unnoticed.

Points: Franklin: 12, Trevor: 8, Michael: 3.


Total: Franklin: 23 points, Trevor: 23 points, Michael: 16 points.

The point is despite what Rockstar says, the data here seems to indicate a socio-economic relationship between local police of these various cities and the citizens they're meant to protect. That fairly accurately relates to the real-world equivalents. So does this mean that it's all some big conspiracy? That Rockstar is lying about their own game to hide their racist agenda? Absolutely not. In fact, it's extremely possible that our own prejudices about race affected the test in some way, or the variables we couldn't control for actually affected the results a lot more than we expected or maybe the results are indeed random and I just got lucky and Franklin got unlucky.

[...]

But hey that's just a theory. A GAME THEORY!

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Just standing near a cop with any of the characters will result in getting arrested, but I've simply walked past police out near the hospital as Franklin and suddenly gotten a star. I didn't have a weapon out, and had just respawned at the hospital. I jogged past the officer on my way to a nearby car and had yet to try opening it. Another time I was sitting on a cycle getting my bearings near the large on / off ramp system by the prison and a police cruiser suddenly fired up its lights and came after me.

Anecdotal sure, take it as you will.

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