Several readers responded to my invitation Monday to join an exploration of arrest data from San Diego Police. If you want to participate, please check out my previous post and then e-mail a question to

Below, I’ve selected a few questions submitted by readers and explained the answers I found in the police data. Keep in mind that people accused of crimes are innocent until proven otherwise in court. The data also represents a six-month period between September 2009 and February 2010.

One more caveat: Calculating some of the statistics was based on data entries with the same name, date of birth and gender. In some cases, police listed the same person with a slightly different name for a different arrest. That means some individuals could be counted multiple times or not counted with each of their aliases.

Who was arrested the most?

In the six-month span, San Diego Police arrested a 48-year-old man 11 times on charges of being drunk in public.

He was arrested by a different police officer in almost every case, usually early in the evening along Mission Valley neighborhoods. He was one of 17 people arrested more than five times.

Assistant Chief Boyd Long said the man had served time for past violations, has a court date next month for three recent cases and is a candidate for the region’s serial inebriate program, which aims to treat habitual offenders.

Do police arrest more people with unhealthy weights?

People arrested for crimes in San Diego are generally less fat than the American population. About 17 percent of women and 15 percent of men arrested by police were obese, based on a body mass index calculation of their reported weights and heights.

Recent studies put national obesity rates closer to 35 percent for women and 32 percent for men.

What is the breakdown of women arrested by hair color?

Police arrested about 6,000 women in our six-month slice of data. About 47 percent of women had brown hair, 33 percent black, 15 percent blonde, 2 percent red and 2 percent another color.

That breakdown appears similar to estimates of the general population, but let me know if you have an authoritative study on hair color statistics for comparison. This article estimates blondes at 16 percent and this article estimates redheads between 2 and 6 percent.

Which police officer made the most arrests?

Officer James Zirpolo arrested 113 people. The next officer had 94 and the average among all officers who arrested at least one person was 14. Keep in mind that some officers, especially those in administrative roles, make few arrests so that brings the average down.

Almost all of Zirpolo’s arrests were based on drunken driving charges in Pacific Beach or surrounding neighborhoods. He arrested 76 men and 37 women.


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