Arrests.org positions itself as a crime-fighting agent that provides a helpful database of information regarding arrest records to the public. However, certain elements of the website reveal its intentions to be much more in line with entertainment value and ad revenue.
For example, the site does not have an explicit system for removing mugshots – even after the offender’s charges have been dropped, the offender has served their time, or been acquitted. The only information provided on the site regarding removal options comes in the form of the Contact tab…it simply states: “Please direct all inquiries to: [email protected]”
If you read the fine print below this contact information, you’ll also see an admission from the site that the owners take no responsibility for accuracy of the information, and that people featured were not necessarily convicted of any crimes. The site owners also refuse to take any responsibility for user comments.
While arrests.org lacks sufficient information about the site’s intentions, owners, or courses of action, this brief statement speaks volumes.
Many sites like arrests.org claim to perform a public service by “informing the public” about background information of citizens. However, the statements found on the site strongly suggest that the site is all about entertainment value.
Users are able to tag and search mugshots based on the following criteria:
- Beat Up
- Tatted up
The fact that you can’t easily filter mugshots based on type of charge, status, time served etc – but instead you can only sort from the tags mentions above suggests that the intent is not to inform citizens, but to mock the subjects of these mugshots.
In addition to this questionable form of categorizing mugshots, the comments section is a wild west of opinions and generally crude and lewd behavior.
Users can link to specific photos and make comments that are then featured on the front page of arrests.org.
The comments are typically degrading, damaging and explicit.
When it comes to dealing with arrests.org removal, first you have to know what it is you’re dealing with. Arrests.org is the parent company of a number of local sites throughout the US that capture, collect and post public mugshots of people. The sites are searchable by state, although the only states available are those that have open record laws.
The mugshots available here are then eligible to be featured as search results on search engines like Google.
On the one hand, the argument is that all of this information would be available to any citizen who did a little bit of digging.
On the other hand, sites like arrests.org make damaging photos immediately accessible and highly visible in search results. Even people who were never charged, have had the charges overturned, are pardoned, or served their sentence will still suffer from the negative effects of an arrests.org search result.
What to watch out for with mugshot databases
The truly controversial aspect of these kinds of practices comes into view when considering how the site is monetized. While some states have tightened up the loopholes regarding “removal” companies, there is still a real chance of extortion when it comes to posted mugshot photos.
Luckily, arrests.org did away with the “pay for removal” system, as they faced legal action along with other sites.
However, some sites like arrests.org still work with companies specializing in removal services. Basically, this secondary company (although it may also just be an extension of the mugshot network) will charge you a certain amount of money to remove your photo from this database. This fee can range from a few hundred dollars upwards.
While there is a chance that this will resolve your problem in the short-term, unfortunately, this is not a guarantee for your online reputation in the long-term.
Even if you pay to get your mugshot removed, there’s a chance that other people can still see it in cached image searches. Additionally, just because you pay for an image to be removed from one database, that doesn’t mean it won’t pop up on other sites down the road. This image could also re-appear on the site you paid for in the future.
While paying for removal may give you some peace of mind in the short-term, using this as your only strategy leaves you vulnerable and sets you up for disappointment.
Consider any course of action you can to get a mugshot removed, but keep in mind that it’s unlikely to do much for you in the long-run. That’s why we suggest an alternative strategy.
Through years of experience working with clients, we have refined our strategy for dealing with negative search results like a mugshot. Even though full mugshot removal is allusive, mitigating the negative effects of a mugshot through personal branding is attainable.
We have found that the most successful way to do this is by following these four steps:
1. Remove any Google results that can be taken down. Again, this is the first thing that you should look into when improving your online presence. Even if you can’t get your mugshot taken down, do a full audit of search results (links, videos, images, news, etc) that come up for your name. From here, unpublish or remove any content that you control. If you choose to work with BrandYouself’s Managed Services, we’ll also create a strategy for identifying and drafting any useful Takedown requests.
2. From here the focus shifts to creating a personal brand that showcases your assets. Because you are specifically dealing with a negative image result, there should be a heavier focus on cultivating social media profiles that deal with visual content. However, your personal brand development should be holistic, and relevant to your specific goals – not just a reaction to this mugshot.
3. Once you have a solid foundation of profiles and a personal website, you have to create positive content to protect your good name from any future damage. This means regularly engaging on social media and building an audience engaged in your industry and interests.
4. While creating positive, relevant content is an ongoing process, you must also continually monitor your online presence and track changes in search results. In addition to monitoring the progress of your mugshot from arrests.org, you also have to be on the lookout for other negative (or positive) search results for your name and how their rankings fluctuate over time.
Remember, at best, paid removal is a short-term solution while you work on building your online reputation management strategy. At worst, paid removal is ineffective and costly.
If removal is an option for you financially, use your own discretion. However, if removal is not an option due to financial constraints, focus your attention on building optimized, well-branded properties that you control. You can learn more about building a strong foundation, by signing up for our free tool, checking out our foundational guides on the BrandYourself blog, and reading the tutorial in BrandYourself University.
Additionally, consider the states that are accessible on arrests.org. This network only features information from states that subscribe to open record laws. Instead of arguing for the public’s right to information or invoking the freedom of information act, arrests.org ensures that they can’t be charged of violating any of these rulings.
If you find your mugshot on a site like arrests.org, you’re probably going to want to sign up for removal services ASAP.
But don’t be fooled! Approach your personal brand holistically, and leverage profiles that you control to showcase your assets.
How do I delete a mugshot?
Unfortunately, you cannot simply opt to delete a mugshot, unless it appears on a website or profile that you control. And in most states, arrest records are part of the public records so they are available online. However, you can try emailing the webmaster directly. Because the odds are slim in terms of working out in your favor, we suggest that you instead focus your efforts on building a strong personal brand online that highlights your accomplishments while suppressing this negative image of yours.
How can I disable comments on my mugshot from arrests.org
Unfortunately you can’t disable comments directly through the site. We also don’t recommend engaging with other users in this forum. Instead, we suggest that you focus on the social media profiles and personal websites that you do control.
Why is my mugshot showing up on multiple sites?
Sites like arrests.org pull from state-run databases that release this information as a matter of public record. Therefore, even if you get the image removed from a site like arrests.org, it can still show up on similar sites or the original database.
How long before my mugshot disappears?
Unfortunately, your mugshot may not disappear. However, as you start to build your personal brand, you’ll notice that properties that you control will start to rank for your name. So the idea is that over time, you’ll significantly reduce the chances that anyone will see your mugshot. The farther down in rankings, the less likely someone is to see it. So while the image may not fully disappear, over time, you will start to see more positive relevant information overwhelm this negative result.
What states does arrests.org cover?
Arrests.org features information from states that subscribe to open record laws. Below we’ve described the regions covered on arrests.org sites by state:
Alabama.arrests.org: The Alabama arrests.org database has grown significantly over the past few years. It now covers 18 counties – it used to list just 5 counties.
Arizona.arrests.org: There are only four counties on the Arizona arrests.org page (Cochise, Maricopa, Mohave, and Pinal).
Arkansas.arrests.org: One of the larger databases out there on the site, the Arkansas arrests.org page includes 23 counties. If you live in this state and have been arrested you should definitely do some digging to see if you’re listed.
California.arrests.org: Surprisingly, there are only 7 counties listed on the California arrests.org page but each is fairly thorough.
Colorado.arrests.org: One of the smaller pages on the site with only two counties. Worth exploring if you live in the state, but the Colorado arrests.org has far fewer mugshots and listings than other state pages, so your chances are a bit better here.
Florida.arrests.org: The Florida arrests.org database covers 52 counties which increases your chances of being listed here significantly. This also means that your mugshot has a great chance at being picked up by another website.
Georgia.arrests.org: The Georgia arrests.org database is also quite large with the page covering 37 counties.
Idaho.arrests.org: Only four counties are included in the Idaho arrests.org page (Ada, Bingham, Canyon, and Elmore).
Illinois.arrests.org: On the Illinois arrests.org page there are 7 counties listed but it is updated quite regularly and has an active comment community which means the chances of someone seeing your mugshot when visiting the page is higher than other states.
Indiana.arrests.org: Indiana’s arrests.org page covers 24 counties and has some fairly active engagement around their listings.
Iowa.arrests.org: Only eight counties are included on the Iowa arrests.org database with moderate activity from visitors.
Kansas.arrests.org: The Kansas arrests.org page has nine counties in their database but very low engagement on their listings.
Kentucky.arrests.org: There are a whopping 70 counties in the Kentucky arrests.org database although the engagement and commenting across all of these listings is actually on the low side given the quantity.
Louisiana.arrests.org: 19 counties make up the Louisiana arrests.org page with moderate engagement throughout the site.
Maine.arrests.org: Only the county of Somerset is on the Main arrests.org database.
Maryland.arrests.org: Allegany and St. Mary’s county are the only two on the Maryland arrests.org database page.
Michigan.arrests.org: 7 counties make up the Michigan arrests.org database with lower than average engagement and activity across them.
Minnesota.arrests.org: There are 26 counties in the Minnesota arrests.org database with moderate activity and comments on their listings.
Mississippi.arrests.org: The Mississippi arrests.org page has 19 counties but very low activity and engagement.
Missouri.arrests.org: The Missouri arrests.org page has 23 counties with a high engagement and comment rate on their listings.
Montana.arrests.org: Missoula and Ravalli are the only two counties you can find on the Montana arrests.org page.
Nebraska.arrests.org: Gage, Lincoln, and Sarpy are the counties listed on the Nebraska arrests.org page with low engagement.
Nevada.arrests.org: This page is down right now. We will update this once it’s available to the public again.
New Jersey.arrests.org: There are only four counties on the New Jersey arrests.org page (Essex, Ocean, Salem, and Sussex).
New Mexico.arrests.org: There are five counties on the New Mexico arrests.org database with above average activity and comments across all listings.
North Carolina.arrests.org: The North Carolina arrests.org page has 30 counties with above average engagement.
Ohio.arrests.org: 36 counties make up the Ohio arrests.org database with above average engagement across their listings.
Oklahoma.arrests.org: The Oklahoma arrests.org database contains 11 counties with moderate activity.
Oregon.arrests.org: 18 counties are included in the Oregon arrests.org page with much higher than average activity and engagement from the visitors to the page.
Pennsylvania.arrests.org: There are only 7 counties in the Pennsylvania arrests.org database and below average engagement.
South Carolina.arrests.org: You can find 22 counties on the South Carolina arrests.org page and the listings receive above average activity and engagement.
Tennessee.arrests.org: The Tennessee arrests.org database has 20 counties and above average engagement.
Texas.arrests.org: 51 counties make up the Texas arrests.org database but the activity level on the listings is actually on the lower side of things.
Utah.arrests.org: You can find 7 counties on the Utah arrests.org page but moderate activity throughout the database.
Virginia.arrests.org: The Virginia arrests.org database covers 13 counties with significantly above average activity and engagement from the visitors.
West Virginia.arrests.org: 10 counties are included in the West Virginia arrests.org database but the engagement level on this page is extremely low.
Wisconsin.arrests.org: There are only 6 counties on the Wisconsin arrests.org page but the engagement across the state database is slightly above average.
Wyoming.arrests.org: Goshen, Sweetwater, and Teton are the only counties listed on the Wyoming arrests.org page. The engagement level is very low as well.
If you’re dealing with a negative search result like a mugshot from arrests.org, schedule a consultation with a BrandYourself Reputation Advisor to discuss the best option for you from our managed services packages.