Baumhower: Reviewing the local ‘mug shot’ publicationsWritten by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
With the recent shootings at and subsequent closing of North Toledo’s Mugshots, I have been inspired to review, compare and contrast the two weekly “mug shot” newspapers/magazines!
Admit it — they catch your eye, those mug shot magazines that sit beside the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, lighters and energy shots near the cash register at your favorite gas stations. The papers that feature people at the worst moments in life, all caught on film and in print, like a Facebook for meth-heads. These publications sell to every nosy neighbor, sarcastic cousin or vindictive employee. They are perfectly legal, as arrest photos/mug shots are in the public domain. But which should you spend your hard-earned $1 or $2 on?
There have been at least four different types of these mug shot publications in Toledo, with two still competing for your guilty pleasure: Buckeyes Behind Bars and Crime Times.
These mug shot mags are incredibly popular, with some locations immediately selling out their inventory on delivery date. They are impulse purchases designed for “people watching” in a printed form. I buy them, but I am a sick man with a sick sense of humor.
These publications target people like me by exploiting people unlike me. Although there are numerous pictures that are downright funny, the majority of photos displayed capture sadness and often tragedy. The arrested, who have yet to have their day in court, are students, mothers, fathers (some deadbeat), professionals and addicts. The saddest part of these publications’ success is that sales are generally higher in poorer neighborhoods, as if there is a sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing someone who is featured.
The only thing these papers truly have in common are the pictures of the alleged criminals inside. They have two contrasting formats. Buckeyes Behind Bars is delivered in a similar style as Auto Trader, stapled together with a front and back cover. Crime Times is presented in a classic newspaper format, with the magazine folded in half.
Crime Times’ slogan is “Putting a Face on Crime in Your Community.” The editors of this mug shot mag appear to have some experience in publication, I suspect from their high school yearbooks. Crime Times has bigger photos with various layouts and features, “Sex Offender Near (your Favorite Elementary School),” “Bad-Hair-Day of the Week” and “The Mug Shot Matching Game.”
Crime Times makes it easier for you to figure out what the arrestees are accused of by grouping similar alleged criminals together in categories such as “Theft,” “DUIs,” “Drugs,” “Battery” and even by county. Crime Times sells for $1 per issue with new issues delivered on Monday. It publishes up to 20,000 copies every week.
Buckeyes Behind Bars, which boasts it is “Most Requested” and “Most Preferred,” could also claim to be “Most Grammatically Incorrect.” This paper is a dream for grammar enthusiasts, whose biggest crowning achievement so far has been correcting their 11th grade English literature teacher’s syllabus. Buckeyes Behind Bars presents its criminals in tighter, smaller photos with a date and brief description of the alleged crime.
To the editors/publishers of Crime Time and Buckeye Behind Bars I wanted to share some ideas to immediately improve your mugshot magazines.
Feature a Weekly Top 10 ranking of the hottest girls and guys arrested that week. (Bonus Idea) If you have an online version, why not link the hottest arrestees to their FaceBook, Twitter but more likely MySpace page.
Feature a Top 10 Toledo Most Wanted List of fugitives.
Buckeyes Behind Bars’ cover story for the current issue (Feb. 1-8) features the arrest of two people who were caught having sex inside Westfield Franklin Park Mall; they were also accused of stealing from Old Navy. This issue is full of “Easter eggs” the editors have left for English teachers across the city. The price tag for this weekly jewel is $2, which for those of you occasionally featured in its pages is twice the cost of Crime Times. And for those of you arrested who do not want your picture published in Buckeyes Behind Bars, the publication offers “Option B,” which happily removes your mugshot for a donation of $59 via PayPal.
If you only have enough money to buy one of these mug shot mags, then Crime Times should be your choice. However, if you love printed evidence of the failure of our education system and enjoy public misspellings and grammatical mistakes, Buckeyes Behind Bars is well worth the extra dollar!
Jeremy Baumhower shares his daily thoughts via Tweets and you can easily follow him on Twitter @Jeremytheproduc.