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Booking logs show increase in arrests for homicides, car thefts, trespassing, and drug crimes in 2021

ANALYSIS

BY LEN CABRERA

2021 was the first full year that the Alachua Chronicle published daily booking logs. You can read about our editorial decision to publish the booking logs here. What follows is a quick snapshot of the booking logs for 2021.

This analysis is rudimentary, and numbers are likely just lower bounds. (The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Uniform Crime Reports show only a 24% clearance rate for Alachua County.) 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. Errors with names and dates of birth are fixed using court records when possible.

In 2021, there were 6,674 entries (one person booked on one day) in the booking log for the county jail (roughly the same rate as the latter half of 2020). 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 6,674 bookings, almost half (3,047) had multiple charges. There were a total of 14,004 individual charges.

In 2021, 4,854 individuals were booked in Alachua County. (Individuals are counted multiple times in the 6,674 and are identified by identical names and dates of birth.) Of the 4,854 individuals, nearly a quarter were arrested more than once; 793 were arrested twice, 388 were arrested 3 or more times, and 10 individuals were arrested 8 or more times (see graph). Just over 23% of individuals booked had more than three charges filed against them. The highest number of charges against a single person was 71 (filed against two people for various types of fraud on November 23).

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Of the 6,674 bookings, nearly 12% (791) were additional charges or warrants for people already in the jail (i.e., had “IN HOUSE” written somewhere in the log). Almost 15% (978) were parole violators, as indicated by VOP, MVOP, or FVOP listed in the log. Almost 3% (193) were people being sentenced to serve time at the county jail rather than a state correctional facility. Note that all other people booked were only accused of a crime and had not been tried or convicted at the time of arrest.

The logs are created in an Excel spreadsheet that has 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 19 of the 6,674 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, roughly the same as 2020.

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 6,674 bookings, 76% were male and 24% were female, up from 22% in 2020.

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 3 to 36, with an average of 18 (up 2 from 2020). The chart below shows the distribution of bookings by day.

The chart below shows the number of bookings by month.

It is difficult to summarize the charges because of inconsistent abbreviations. The table below shows my best attempt (within a reasonable amount of time and effort). Without complete data for 2020, it’s hard to compare, but it appears that homicides, car thefts, trespassing, and drug crimes were considerably higher in 2021. Also, the total number of individuals booked in the last half of 2021 was 16% higher than the last half of 2020: 3,418 in 2021 vs. 2,928 in 2020. (You can find last year’s summary here.)

Recall that the FDLE crime report showed about 24 percent of crimes in Alachua County were solved in 2020. This statistic is probably not uniform across the various crimes and may not be the same rate for 2021, but multiplying everything in the table above by 4 gives a rough approximation of the level of crime in Alachua County for 2021.

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. Booking logs are only available on our website for one month.

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