Real-Time Mugshots and Stats of People Arrested in Tampa Bay, FL

I’m torn about this – it’s fascinating to look at, but also incredibly wrong on so many levels. Schadenfreude at its best and worst.

Apparently, Tampa Bay provides real-time mugshots of people who were arrested in the last 24 hours in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. But beyond just a singular photo, you can click on each individual and see things like the time of arrest, the charge, the time of booking, etc.

Additionally, there’s all this sorting on the page that lets you view a 60 day archive of people arrested, broken down by county, gender, age, height, etc.

Most disturbing is that there are “permalinks” associated with each individual. That means that no matter what the outcome of their trials (innocent until proven guilty, remember), there will still be this public record of each person, lingering online.

I’m not sure what’s worse – that you can find additional information on each person at the Sheriff’s site (complete with their home address), or that banner ads appear underneath the detail view of each mugshot.

While I like the idea of accessible information and transparency (this technically prevents the police from kidnapping me and no one having any idea where I am or what happened to me), presenting the information in this manner seems a bit much.

The data breakdowns are interesting. The individual photos and charges and stories are, I’m embarassed to say, interesting. But the whole thing just feels wrong.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I think it seems incredibly wrong, almost like it should be illegal.Florida. It figures.

    Robin Einzig Reply

  2. “Most disturbing is that there are “permalinks” associated with each individual. That means that no matter what the outcome of their trials (innocent until proven guilty, remember), there will still be this public record of each person, lingering online.”No. If you read the FAQ, you’ll see that after 60 days, the mugs are gone. we delete them. The 60 day archive is a rolling window — if the mug is older than 60 days, it’s gone. And we’ve taken steps to make sure that Google doesn’t index those “permalink” pages (we called them that for a lack of anything better to call them. The truth is they are anything but permanent).I appreciate your concerns — we had the same ones you do — but in Hillsborough County, where the city of Tampa is located, you can get 14 years of arrest records online right now, regardless of outcome, through the county sheriff’s website. On our site, in 60 days, the mug is gone, regardless of outcome, for the very reasons you describe.(I’m one of the developers of the site)

    Matt Waite Reply

  3. Matt -First off, my bad for missing the FAQ. Poor form on my part to accuse on assumptions, and for not doing my homework in this regard.As someone who’s perused the photos (and gone back more than once, I have to admit), I’m curious… do you feel a little weird/sketchy adding in advertisements to this data? I think the breakdowns in terms of stats is all pretty interesting (height/weight/county), and it just leads to more browsing. But there’s nothing legally problematic, in terms of using publicly-accessible data for-profit?Ultimately, I understand the argument that you’re aggregating public data, and presenting it in a different manner on the web. I’m personally curious if you (or anyone else on the development team) experienced any personal or ethical concerns, in setting the site/pages up.I don’t mean this in an accusatory way, I’m genuinely interested to hear about how the process began, and any of the background in terms of the build. In my browsing of the site, I’m definitely deriving pleasure from someone else’s misfortune (many people’s misfortune, to be precise)… and if I’m feeling that just looking at the site, I’m wondering if you all experienced the same thing, building it.Thanks again for posting a comment, and correcting my error. I’d love to hear any additional info you’d care to share about this project.

    avoision Reply

  4. I love it this is awesome. I have been arrested before so hey I am no angel but you would think that maybe this would be one more lil deterent.

    William Graham Reply

  5. I was arrested in 2005 and I should never have been arrested. I was found innocent and had my records sealed. Severalm years later I discover quite by accident that my mugshot is on the internet. How do I get in contact with to get photo removed. My record is absolutely spotless except for this incident. They say they will remove it if the records are sealed and they provide an email to ask them to remove my mugshot, but they never respond. They do not provide a phone number. This is a serious scam. The vendors they have listed charge 400 dollars. Get a real job. Those are the people who should be put in jail. When I tried to get more information they were downright nasty.

    Tom Bonomo Reply

  6. In addition, it seems to me that it is TOTALLY ILLEGAL. They did not prosecute me and my records are SEALED, yet they received the information ILLEGALLY and are not providing a responsible way or removing it. They records were sealed long before they put me on the internet.

    Tom Bonomo Reply

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