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Perhaps the largest database of criminal records, profiles, and the like is the FBI database, called the National Crime Information Center or NCIC. This database contains all criminal records of nearly every single individual in every state of county within the United States. However, the information available from the FBI database is not free to the public, nor is it accessible to just anyone. In fact, only those who work for criminal justice agencies can access data from the NCIC and even then, proper verification procedure is observed.
So how do you, a regular person who does not work for any criminal justice agency, get hold of the criminal records of somebody that you met and wish to know more? Or how does a company who has no associations whatsoever with a criminal justice agency, research more on a prospective hire by accessing criminal records that are free to the public?
No problem. The Internet, known as the information super-highway, provides you with a rich source of criminal records that are free to the public. There are countless websites out there that offer criminal records and other sorts of public information that are free to the public. Most of the information that you’re getting from these online databases are taken from local, parochial, county, or state registries. Currently, up to 22 states keep online databases of criminal records that are free.
According to public records researchers, no more than 20% of public criminal records are available online. This is perhaps due to the fact that not all states have online databases containing public criminal records. In fact, only 22 states have registries for public criminal records and not all are as comprehensive as you would like them to be. The only truly comprehensive public criminal records database is the FBI database and that is not considered public record. Only those from criminal justice agencies have the legal right to access those documents.
So how does one go about finding public criminal records? Well, if you’re a business and you absolutely must get access to the public criminal records of individuals that you are considering hiring, then the best solution for you would be to contact a private detective agency. You see, even if online access of data is not comprehensive, a manual retrieval of public criminal records is quite possible and not only that, it is in fact an integral part of public records research.
How Important is Public Criminal Records Research?
Every business, large or small, is vulnerable threats brought by incidents of liability, litigation, legislation, and aggressive competition. Information and forehand knowledge of what’s going on is important. And for most people, it serves as the first line of defense against incidents that could cause the business to lose revenues. Sometimes, as is often the case, mere data is not enough. What businesses need are highly-refined information and analysis that facilitates decision-making.
Public criminal records come in especially handy during the hiring process of a prospective employee. It does not bode well for a company to hire someone who’s been previously convicted of a criminal offense, especially if such an offense involves an environment which is relative to the position being offered.
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