St. Petersburg Times: Tampa Bay Mug Shots


3 of 5 stars
What’s this?

Online resource displaying police photographs and charges for people arrested within the last twenty-four hours in Pinellas, Hillsbourough and Pasco Counties in Florida.

“The information presented here as a public service is gathered from open county sheriff’s Web sites in the Tampa Bay area. The booking mug shots and related information are from arrest records in the order and at the time the data was collected. Those appearing here have not been convicted of the arrest charge and are presumed innocent.”

It’s very well done and makes for fascinating social information, though it raises a lot of questions, too. Also, note that statistical breakdowns are provided for gender, age, eye color, height, etc. But not for race.

  1. Yeah, it’s definitely well done, but it’s also a terrible (and scary) idea. What happened to privacy? I do realize that mug shots are part of the public domain, but releasing them with this sort of publicity is pretty disconcerting.

    I know this is a bit off topic, Khoi, but all of your posts (whether they’re links or articles) come in on the same RSS feed and I don’t really know how to differentiate between different posts. I almost wish you could mark your longer entries in the feed so I know when to click through to read them in full.

  2. D Perry: Thanks for that backgrounder link.

    Joey: When I redesigned this blog with Expression Engine, I merged the shorter posts with the longer posts, reasoning that for most users there’s probably little distinction between one kind of post or the other — there’s just what I write.

    I haven’t heard many complaints about that, but there have been a few. Anyway, your wish is my command. If you look in the sidebar on the home page (or the header of any page) you’ll see that you can now subscribe to long posts only. Hope that helps.

  3. Wow, that was quick! I do enjoy reading all of your posts, but I especially like to read your articles in the original design they were intended rather than through a feed reader. The new feed you added solves that problem. Cheers.

  4. Interesting to hear you say that, Khoi, because one of the biggest concerns I’ve heard raised by journalists about this site is its design: The focus on the mugshot. There are some who say it crosses the line into something like newstainment, and have even compared it to the likes of “To Catch a Predator.” I think they are wrong, and think it’s defensible on journalistic grounds alone. The information is good. It is gathered and published responsibly (which is one of the reasons race is not included). And the design is compelling.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.