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Booking log summary: June 8 – December 31, 2020

ANALYSIS

BY LEN CABRERA

The Alachua Chronicle started publishing jail booking logs on June 8, 2020, in response to reader demand after the Gainesville Sun’s parent company, Gannett, decided to take down their gallery at http://www.mugshotsgainesville.com/. You can read about our editorial decision here. What follows is a quick snapshot of the booking logs we covered in 2020.

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NOTE: This is only tangentially related to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime report, which covers reported crimes, of which about 24% get solved. The booking log records people who are taken into custody. People are booked into the Alachua County Jail for many reasons, including the execution of a warrant, an arrest by an officer with probable cause, additional charges for someone already in the jail, and those who are sent to jail after sentencing. About 3% (92 of 3,250) of the bookings were people who had actually been sentenced.

This analysis is rudimentary, and numbers are likely just lower bounds. It is difficult to accurately search or summarize specific charges or names because the logs are “dirty” data. Names and abbreviations are not consistent from day to day. We copy and paste directly from the logs as we receive them, with only minor corrections to keep the format consistent on a given day (not necessarily from day to day). We fix obvious typos or errors when we see them. For example, a recent entry had a date of birth of “18/18/1992,” so we looked at court records to correct the date. If the date of birth is left blank, we leave it blank (34 total).

From June 8 to December 31, 2020, Alachua County had 3,250 individual bookings at the county jail. This number does not count the total number of charges, as a single individual can have multiple charges or appear multiple times in the log in a single day. (Of the 3,250 bookings, 1,503 had multiple charges). An individual is counted multiple times in the 3,250 if he or she was listed on different days (using the exact same name). Of the 3,250 bookings, 286 were booked on multiple days, and 463 were booked for a probation or parole violation. (These groups may overlap, so the number of repeat offenders is not necessarily the sum of those numbers.) Of those who were booked on multiple days, most (78%) only appeared twice. The most a single person was booked between June 8 and December 31 was 7 times. For individual bookings with multiple charges, the highest number of charges against a single person was 93 counts of fraud (July 14).

The logs are created in an Excel spreadsheet that gives officers a dropdown menu for various fields. (We usually receive it as a PDF document.) The choices for race include Asian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, and White. However, all but 10 of the 3,250 entries listed either Black or White, even when the name and/or picture of the accused clearly suggested otherwise. As entered, the logs show that 57% of those arrested were black and 43% were white.

The sex field should have fewer errors since there are only two options: male and female. If the entry doesn’t match the picture, we correct it. (Female inmates are given blue uniforms, and males have white/green striped uniforms.) Of the 3,250 bookings, 78% were male and 22% were female.

Over half of the people booked were between 18 and 35 years old. The chart below shows the distribution by age:

The number of bookings (individual people) by day varied from 4 to 33, with an average of 16. The chart below shows the distribution of bookings by day.

The chart below shows the number of bookings by month. (The bar for June is missing the first week, since we started on June 8.)

Since we didn’t plan in advance to analyze bookings by crimes, it is difficult to summarize the charges. The table below shows my best attempt (within a reasonable amount of time and effort).

The table above is a lower bound for the number of crimes charged in Alachua County because it shows the total number of bookings (of 3,250) that had the charge(s) listed. The individual booking lines could have a charge listed multiple times, but that is not reflected in the table. Also, some charges were not picked up because of inconsistent abbreviations.

Recall that the FDLE crime report showed about 24% of crimes in Alachua County were solved in the first half of 2020. This statistic is probably not uniform across the various crimes and may not be the same rate for the second half of the year, but multiplying everything in the table above by 4 gives a rough approximation of the level of crime in Alachua County from June 8 to December 31, 2020.

To view the booking logs posted on Alachua Chronicle, enter the date you want to see in our search box or click on the “Crime” category in the drop-down menu.

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