By now, we’ve all become far too familiar with the use of mugshots for entertainment. As a result, many of us don’t even blink an eye when we see articles like this one in the Huffington Post that contains so-called “unforgettable” mugshots. People are arrested and we all laugh at them. It seems to be an unfortunate part of the American experience. However, mugshots are designed to do much, much more. Perhaps if they weren’t used for entertainment, they could be utilized a little more effectively.
A mugshot is designed to provide a photographic record of a person who is accused of a crime. That’s all the images really are. When someone is arrested, they’re photographed. It doesn’t mean the person is guilty, and it doesn’t even mean the case is closed. It just means that a person is arrested. However, from time to time, people who are arrested are accused of doing something else that might be illegal, and police might want to talk to these people again. When this happens, a mugshot can be incredibly helpful.
In Santa Cruz, California, for example, a man was wanted for questioning concerning 25 crimes, and since he’d been arrested in the past, the law enforcement officials had mugshots of the man. They released the photos to the news, hoping that people would call in with tips that could lead to the arrest of the man. However, the images also can help people to protect themselves. In the past, this accused man may have preyed on unlocked car doors and house doors. By releasing the photos, the police may hope to encourage people to look their doors when they see this man. In this case, the photos can keep people safe.
Mugshots can also be helpful in locating very dangerous people who could be anywhere in the world at the moment. For example, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the FBI is working on a sophisticated facial-recognition program that will utilize mugshots in order to find very dangerous criminals. With this software in place, a blurry image from a crowd could be compared to thousands and thousands of mugshots, and within an instant, a law enforcement official could have the name and prior address of a suspect accused of a crime. If this system had been in place in Boston, for example, law enforcement officials could have found the names and addresses of the bombers without asking for the public’s help. Perhaps this would have been advantageous.
In both of these cases, the mugshots provide very vital help for law enforcement officials. But the case could be made that mugshot sites are making these steps just a little harder to accomplish.
People who look at mugshot websites all day long may develop a form of visual fatigue. They’ve seen too many photos of arrested people too many times, and they may not be able to remember the details of dangerous faces law enforcement officials want to talk to. Similarly, if these viewers equate mugshots with humor, they may not take the threats of criminals very seriously. If they didn’t see mugshots as often, perhaps they’d remember details better and treat the images more seriously when they did see them.
It’s also quite possible that law enforcement agencies are becoming more and more leery of even sharing mugshots in the first place. That’s what seems to be happening in Salt Lake City, for example, as the City Council attempts to deal with bulk requests from mugshot site administrators for photographs. The Council is now asking the mugshot site to provide written requests for all photographs. If other cities follow suit, mugshots could be harder to obtain, and perhaps it might be harder for journalists and other citizens to release photos when public safety issues are on the line.
We think it’s time that mugshots move from the realm of entertainment back into the hands of law enforcement. But in the interim, we’re here to help you if you’ve been arrested. We can provide immediate removal of any mugshot from any website within mere minutes, and our work is guaranteed. Visit www.internetreputation.com to find out more.