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Paul Wellman (file)

Introducing The Independent’s South Coast Crime Map

Interactive Widget Shows the Who, What, Where, and When of Recent Arrests


We’ve added a new feature to our website, and here’s a quick explanation of what it’s all about:

Now displayed on the top left corner of our News Page is the South Coast Crime Map, an interactive widget that shows recent arrests throughout Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Carpinteria.

Incidents are noted with place markers that display the name of the arrestee, when and where they were picked up, and their alleged offense. A link within the mini-reports directs you to more details on the arrest. It’s important to note that the people who appear in the listings have only been arrested on suspicion of a crime, and that they haven’t been prosecuted or convicted for any criminal offense.

The data is provided by United Reporting, a subscriber-based online service that offers free arrest logs to newspapers throughout California. Other media subscribers include SFGate.com, SacBee.com, and UTSanDiego.com.

Sacramento-based United Reporting, according to its Central California Bureau Chief Ken Paglia, was started in 1995 and covers 500 jurisdictions in the state, hiring a team of 50 freelance reporters to make public records requests for booking reports with local law enforcement agencies, including police departments, sheriff’s departments, and the CHP. Two of their stringers work in the area, one visiting the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department almost every day, and another checking in with the SBPD approximately once a week.

Paglia explained that United Reporting tracks the gamut of legal offenses, from minor citations to felony assaults to murders. They exclude traffic citations, arrests involving minors, and all sealed case files. Their records also note when a Santa Barbara County resident is arrested out of town.

If an arrestee wants their name removed from United Reporting’s log, Paglia went on, they just need to click the “Opt-Out” button on the company’s website and their arrest will be taken down for free. Other companies in different states charge to complete such requests. Out of the thousands of arrests United Reporting processes every day, they only receive 10-15 opt-out requests, Paglia said.

The service to media outlets and citizen subscribers helps “fill in the gaps” of crime reporting, Paglia said, and its massive data sets help law enforcement agencies and communities track trends and areas of concern.

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