Has Someone You Know A Criminal Background?
One interesting aspect of crime in general and of people with histories of criminal activity is that these are not evenly distributed throughout the country.
Some communities have low crime rates compared to most, and there are even neighborhoods that, despite the considerable number of people living within, have been known to last a whole year with virtually no incidences of felonies (like in the case of the city of Franklin in Tennessee, which reported only five burglaries and zero homicides for all of 2014 despite having a population of over 66,000 according to the data that were released to the public by the FBI). However, it would be foolish to use crime rate as the sole indicator of precisely how safe an area is for you and your family.
You must understand that if a community seems practically devoid of crime (at least according to the official statistics), it does not inevitably follow that every law-abiding citizen living within that community will be a hundred percent safe from people with less-than-noble intentions.
Victims of premeditated crimes claim that they have become too trusting of their neighbors, their coworkers, and yes, even their family members and relatives. Thus, regardless of what the published statistics tell you about the community you live in, it makes sense for you to take the next logical step - to actively find out whether any of the people you interact with every day has any prior history of serious violations of the law.
If you wish to find out whether someone you know has a criminal background, the following will be of help to you:
1. Find Out All You Can About The People Around You
You should exert the necessary effort to find out what you can about the people whom you feel deserve further scrutiny. You start with knowing the basics such as their full names, current addresses, and immediate family members. If there is any other information about them that you believe makes them stand out in a negative way, take note of it as well, whether by discreetly observing their speech, actions, and behavior or by asking them (when the timing is right) such things like what they do for a living and what they do during their free time.
If this person is a regular visitor at your residence, you may also want to check whether any of your possessions have gone missing. Remember: it's one thing to verbally claim to be a good neighbor and quite another to actually be one.
No detail is too small to be overlooked, especially if it seems out of place to you. Knowing even these little things can help you narrow down your list until you have a select few whom you should look into further when you finally begin browsing the necessary records (This will be discussed further in the succeeding tip.). Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and resources finding out everything you can about a person even if all the signs point to their being clean as a whistle.
Don't ever be discouraged by the possibility that you might come off as a bit nosy as you go about your own little "investigation." To keep yourself from getting discouraged, just remember that you are doing this to ensure your and your family's well-being.
2. Ask Other People
After you have identified those people whom you feel might have criminal histories, try asking the people who regularly interact with them. Chances are, these other people can provide you with vital information that you would not otherwise acquire if you simply limit yourself to your own personal interactions with potential felons. After all, anyone who seems cordial whenever you cross paths with each other may be an entirely different person when your back is turned, and you have a better chance of finding this out from other people, not from the person himself.
As with the preceding tip, you should not be discouraged by how others might perceive your asking them all these questions about your mutual acquaintance. You may, however, opt to be casual when asking them instead of probing aggressively so as not to make them feel uneasy, which could compel them to withhold the information that will be of use to you.
3. Check For Any Records Online
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the once-laborious process of finding out whether a person has a criminal background can now be completed in just a matter of minutes. You can now easily look up people's criminal records on the World Wide Web with the help of websites and search engines developed specifically for that purpose.
One valuable tool is the National Sex Offender Public Website, an online database maintained by the US Department of Justice. The names, photographs, and other details of registered sex offenders currently on parole in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, US territories, and even Native American tribes are viewable on this site. If someone you know happens to show up on this site while you're browsing through it, you will then of course avoid contact with that person and advise other people close to you to do the same.
There is also a way to find out if a person has not yet been convicted of any crime, sexual or otherwise, but has an outstanding warrant. Some municipal police and county sheriff websites have free arrest warrant checks among their basic services. Just type in a person's full name and then you will instantly know whether they have any outstanding warrants. However, if nothing shows up online on a particular individual yet you still have that nagging feeling about them in your gut, you may call the warrants section of your local police department or sheriff's office or even your local courthouse and ask them directly about that individual so as to give yourself some peace of mind.
People search engines such as SearchUSAPeople.com have broader scope in that these also include those who are not even charged with any crimes, though these sites will still point out who in their respective databases have any history of both major and minor violations of the law (Even if an individual's only violation is going over the speed limit, it will still show up here).
With up to 95 percent of the country's adult population purportedly being covered by SearchUSAPeople's steadily growing database, there's a better-than-average chance that some of the personal details of anyone whom you want to know more about will show up there. This will, in effect, allow you to identify who among the people around you deserve a closer look because of something they've done, or something they're likely to do based on their present activities and preferences.
Technology is not perfect despite the many advantages it brings, and so it is still possible for some of those with convictions or even just arrest warrants to somehow avoid "being picked up on the radar," intentionally or otherwise. Also, this approach achieves very little in identifying those who do not yet have any misdemeanor or felony records but in reality have actual criminal intent, thus compelling people to rely on other means as well in knowing the true backgrounds of those around them.
70 million Americans Have Criminal Records
Crime is a fact of life no matter how hard we try to deny it, especially if we have become used to living in relative safety compared to others in our community. The fact that nearly 70 million Americans have criminal records is already cause for concern for most people, and so it should also be for you. It therefore prompts you to mentally question the real motives of just about every single person you come across in your daily interactions.
While it may at first seem that you're erring too much on the side of caution, in the end, you really can't afford to let your guard down. The harsh reality we all face is that not everyone we know will have our or our loved ones' best interests in mind.