Do background searches include police reports filed?
January 7, 2009 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Can "criminal background searches" bring up any sort of police report?

I had to file a police report as the victim of a crime a while back. Today I was searching for my own first and last name on Google, and I got results listing my name, town, and zip code for various criminal background search services. When I click the links, they just want me to sign up to do a background search. Does this mean that anyone who pays for a background check on me (future employers? dates?) will see the police report I filed? If so, why, when I was the victim of a crime and not a criminal?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you sure those sites aren't just phishing? Many websites will return false positive hits for google searches on ANYTHING, just to get you to their "door".
posted by nomisxid at 8:57 AM on January 7, 2009

My SO used to work for a company that dealt with commercial background checks. Here is what he says:

The appearance of ads for a background check does not indicate the presence of a record. Do a search for anyone's name, and you'll get hits offering criminal background check, "find your classmate!" etc etc.

Police reports like the one you mention in your post tend not to appear on most commercial criminal background screenings conducted by landlords, employers, or even insane future love interests. If someone really wants to dig deep enough (like a lawyer hiring a private detective), then they'll be able to find such information, but most reports provided commercial background checkers wouldn't find it.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:09 AM on January 7, 2009

3rding that those sites are full of crap. I've never been arrested, have one speeding ticket to my name, and I show up on those background search sites.
posted by desjardins at 9:14 AM on January 7, 2009

A criminal background check is typically just a check on the NCIC and perhaps state and local equivalents. They search by name and social security number and that search does not pull up victim names etc.
posted by caddis at 9:17 AM on January 7, 2009

To my knowledge, victim information is not tracked on NCIC or other search services. Some local organizations (such as the district attorney I work for) track victim names as part of their internal database of defendants, cops, victims, attorneys, etc. It makes it useful to index information. But that's a private intranet, not something that would be available through a national service or even the state court's database.
posted by Happydaz at 9:39 AM on January 7, 2009

are you sure there isn't just another person who also has your name listed in this database? most names appear more than once in the phonebook. the only person who I know of who never ever came across anyone with the exact same name is ...uhm... me. that coincidentally is also why I still regret posting with my full name to a certain forum back in 1996.
posted by krautland at 11:20 AM on January 7, 2009

AFAIK, NCIC would never be accessible for non-criminal justice purposes. Maybe there are a few sub-databases that are, but the core ones like Criminal History, mugshots, etc. are not.

There is, however, plenty of useful criminal background information that could potentially be available such as dispositions which are often maintained by Clerks of Court and the State Police. I think it varies wildly whether information is available online though.
posted by turbodog at 1:23 PM on January 7, 2009

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