In early 2022, Lane County Mugshots launched a project to tackle the work of helping locate missing persons from our area. In doing so, we decided to put together a brief synopsis of what it is that we are trying to do, what we’ve accomplished so far, and what are next steps are.  The are summarized below.

Problem Statement – What is the problem that we are trying to solve?

  • Exposure
    • Getting information out in a timely manner.
    • Keeping information in front of people as time goes on.
    • Getting more exposure in more places.
  • Help
    • Law enforcement funds and resources are stretched thin
    • Volunteers are hard to come by
  • Information
    • Lack of resources
    • Inaccurate, unreliable
      • Example: Missing Person sites will include a person’s age. However, the age reflects the person’s age at the time that they went missing and not their current age.
      • Example: Photos of missing persons also reflect the person’s age at time of disappearance.
    • Information Gaps
    • Lack of photos
    • Information not kept current
    • Disposition of those found are unknown

What we’ve done:

  • Built a custom database to accommodate multiple sources
  • Created programs to download information automatically from the Oregon State Police
  • Built an admin tool for managing the data on our end including photo management
  • Hours of research populating the database from multiple sources
  • Created Ad Generator to displaying Missing Person ads. These ads are seen roughly 25,000 times per day (and growing.)
  • Created and launched an Online Missing Persons Report tool (unofficial) so that information can get out online as quickly as possible.

What’s next:

  • Complete work on a new missing persons web site that is independent of Lane County Mugshots
  • Create a 501c3 non-profit for the new site and organization so that we can seek grants and accept donations
  • Expand into other Oregon counties
  • Expand outside of Oregon

Missing Person Stats

Here is how this project can help:

 

  • Increase exposure to missing people
    • Provide a way to collect new missing person information before it becomes official. Publish and display ads/posts for unofficial missing persons.
    • Use custom algorithms to ensure balance in missing person ad exposure
    • Utilize text alerts and email notifications to reach more people.
    • Develop further channels to maximize exposure
    • Ads on Facebook and other channels for the new Missing Persons site we will be launching
  • Utilize business/organizational sponsorships as a community engagement opportunity.
    • Sponsorships:
      • Create and foster community standing by showing commitment to the greater good of the community.
      • Helps give exposure to families that can’t afford to advertise their loved ones.
      • Can reduce tax burden.
      • Can promote civic engagement.
    • Sponsor wall – A page on the site listing donors that have chosen to appear. Gold, Silver, Platinum levels, etc.
    • Missing person ads with sponsorship info at the bottom.
      • Display on
        • Web Sites
          • Lane County Mugshots (LCM)
          • Oregon Crime News (OCN)
          • Embed code for others
        • Facebook pages and groups
          • Lane County Mugshots (LCM) and Oregon Crime News (OCN)
          • Other applicable area groups
          • New Missing Persons Facebook group and page
        • Twitter
        • Instagram
        • Email Newsletter
        • Include QR & Short Link
      • Help
        • Help law enforcement efforts by giving them access to the system possibly with extra features.
        • Create family and volunteer access to the system to help with updating the information.
      • Information
        • Become a source of truth for information
        • Make information as accurate and reliable as possible
          • Connect with families and law enforcement.
          • Implement user input quality controls to maintain consistency.
          • Use a moderation process to verify information before publishing.
          • Establish periodic review process
        • Fill gaps in information by aggregating from multiple sources
          • Automated data crawlers
          • Law Enforcement
          • Families
          • Volunteers
          • User comments
        • Create a campaign to get photos for every missing person possible
        • Utilize aging programs to create age-updated photos. Update them once a year.
        • Ensure that links always work, even if a person has been found
        • When a person has been found, include information as appropriate about their disposition and circumstances.
        • Utilize discussion features for people to talk about the cases
        • Create a way for tracking clues and tips
        • Update clues and tips from social media comments on posts
        • Provide a way for anonymous tip reporting
        • Create PDF downloadable posters for printing