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How do I find Criminal Records?

Updated on March 4, 2014

Today, many people know that criminal records are public and, therefore, can be easily accessed through the Internet. There are many reasons why someone would consider searching for criminal records. The main reason for criminal record searches today is based on offenses that are close to home. Whether you are worried about a new neighbor, a new nanny. or people within your place of business or school, you can search criminal records and background checks online to find out the truth about someone.

There are several ways to go about searching for criminal records online: the free option or a paid membership through a 3rd party website.

Free Criminal Searching

If you have choose to conduct a free criminal search, all you have to do is type in the full name of the person in question into a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo. The more information you know about the person the better. For instance, if you know their phone number or birthdate, this can help narrow down the search and increase your odds of finding the right person. By putting quotes around the text in the search box, you limit your search. It should be noted that this can be a very time consuming process and there is no way to know if you will be able to find the results you are looking for.

Paid Criminal Searching

There are literally hundreds of websites who have databases of millions and millions of criminal records for you to search. Often these websites offer “unlimited searches” after you pay a fixed fee of around $30. This will give you access to court records, jail records, offense records, indictments, and felonies. There are some record's websites that are not legitimate, which is why it is important to check them out thoroughly before paying for your membership.

If you do not want to go through a third party website such as these, you can go directly to the National Sex Offender Registry to search for criminal records of this nature. However, the only way to search through other criminal records is to visit these 3rd party databases. Many people believe that the fee is more than worth it. With millions of records in one database your odds of finding the person you are looking for greatly increase.

Why Look for Records?

There is one real reason to look for criminal records and that is for safety. Everyone wants to ensure that their loved ones are safe and even the slightest threat should be investigated thoroughly. The police can't do anything until a crime is committed. That is why you want to check for criminal records. This can either put your mind at ease or let you know that you need to watch out for this person. There is no reason to be in the dark about this information when it is open for the public to view.

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