This is the first installment in a series regarding a policy of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), in conjunction with the Mayor’s office, to make publicly available (online for 30 days) mug shots of all individuals who have been arrested (not convicted) for patronizing or soliciting for prostitution. On the website, anyone with internet access can see an arrestee’s:
- Mug shot
(although all are biological men)(according to the State)
- Home address (the city block)
- Arrest location
- Arrest date
- Arrest statute
- Whether their car was impounded
Since 2010, the SSRC has been monitoring the website and collecting screen shots every 30 days to create a database with all the available information. We have begun some preliminary mapping of this data.
This first map shows where the prostitution arrests are taking place. For the maps, the arrest dates are from 3/8/2010 to 3/9/2012. Not surprisingly, most arrests occur on the West and South Sides. While the vast majority of these arrests are for street-based prostitution, one of the more interesting (surprising?) findings is the extreme street-nature of the arrests. Instead of being clustered in neighborhoods, they appear to follow major streets in Chicago, often crossing several neighborhoods. (The exception to this is the cluster around the Englewood and Auburn Gresham neighborhoods.)
When we mapped the locations of arrest and where those arrested live, we found a not-so-surprising pattern. Comparing the first map to maps two and three, it appears that although the arrestees live all over the city and the Chicago metropolitan area, the arrests are clustered in certain neighborhoods.
The policy to publish mug shots and arrest information online has been in place since 2005, but we have not yet seen any scientific studies to address the implications of this policy or similar ones in other cities (if we missed something, please let us know). With this series, we hope to spark discussion and scholarship on this topic.
Coming next in our series, we will address why there appears to be a disproportional number of transgender individuals who have been arrested for patronizing or soliciting for prostitution.
We welcome your comments on these maps. And if you’re interested in these data, just let us know.
Note: We have records from 3/8/2010 to 3/30/2012. CPD temporarily stopped posting the mugshots without an explanation from late December 2010 to July 2011, so we have no records from December 24, 2010 to July 5, 2011.