'Negative' information search / disprove info?
October 23, 2014 3:13 PM   Subscribe

In what way could I reliably find out whether a person still lives at a given address, while specifically NOT hearing anything about where he moved to, and NOT indicating to him that I'm seeking this info or that anyone's seeking it on my behalf?

The outcome I want would be just the single piece of information: he no longer lives at the address in question (or much better yet, if possible: he no longer lives within, say, a 1-mile radius of the address).

The person is my ex who lives or lived (hopefully lived) in a ground-floor, curtainless apartment I sometimes still need to either pass by or go out of my way not to pass by. I don't like passing by it but I also don't like letting discomfort send me out of my way. It would be much better if I could just confirm he's not living there anymore. (The decorations seem to have changed, but I'm not about to go near enough to make sure.)

Paper-history if relevant: I have a police report and domestic incident report against him for harassment and I went to family court to try to get an Order for Protection against him (which the judge denied because there was no history or threat of physical violence, just a lot of verbose "she belongs with me" verbal harassment of my family and friends in attempts to get access to me). This is in the U.S. in a large city. I'm looking for a formal / not in-person way to do this (as opposed to, for example, getting someone to go look into the apartment's window).
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This would only tell you if he's still at that address or not, not the 1-mile radius part, but if your library has access to Reference USA you can do a custom search for his address in the Standard White Pages, New Movers/Homeowners, and Consumers/Lifestyles sections to see who's listed as living at those addresses instead of searching for him by name and then having to find out where he currently lives.
posted by jabes at 3:22 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can probably get this by hiring a private detective. You can tell them to only tell you the piece you want to know. If they find out where he is, they don't have to tell you that bit.

I had someone track me down with a private detective once. I had no clue until this individual (the guy who hired the detective to find me) called me out of the blue, five years after I ditched his sorry ass and never wanted to hear from him again. So I think a private detective can get this without clue-ing the guy that you are looking for info on him. That's kind of part of their job.
posted by Michele in California at 3:31 PM on October 23, 2014 [7 favorites]

This would be just one data point rather than a reliable way to tell (and depends on whether he keeps his voter registration up to date), but in some states you can look up people's voter registration status by name and it will list their current address as well.
posted by aka burlap at 3:57 PM on October 23, 2014

Oh scratch that - I missed the part about not wanting to know where he moved TO.
posted by aka burlap at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2014

Do the voter registration idea, but have a friend look up the information.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:10 PM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just, you know, keep this piece in mind:

and depends on whether he keeps his voter registration up to date

So, to me, it looks like it probably does not meet the test of a reliable means to find out.
posted by Michele in California at 4:40 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding a private detective in his area. Think of a budget before you pick up the phone; if you don't like the estimate you're getting, ask the question "what can I get for $___?" It's going to be more expensive than you want, of course, but may yet still be affordable-- and it might be really cheap if your'e willing to setting for a records search.

A PI, though, will also respect your wishes if you just say "find him, tell me if he's near ____, and don't tell me where he is." You could qualify that by saying "...but tell me if he's within X miles of me at [address]."
posted by Sunburnt at 4:52 PM on October 23, 2014

Just ask a friend to go see if his name's still on the mailbox.
posted by erst at 4:55 PM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

The problem is that public records take some time to update. So even if you had access to public records to figure it out, they may not reflect whether he moved or not right away. You could hire a friend to stake out the place and see if he comes or goes, haha. Maybe a mutual friend can just tell you though. Or maybe his Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/whatever will have clues about if he moved. I wouldn't recommend you start stalking his social media though, for your own mental health. Maybe a friend will.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2014

Ask a friend he's not acquainted with to go knock on his door and ask if so-and-so lives there and if it's him just pretend that they're part of some get-out-the-vote campaign (timely!) or whatnot.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:57 PM on October 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you make contact with him, or have a friend make contact with him - that can wreck any protection order you have.

Working with a PI should not.

Reverse lookup is a good plan, although public records can be out of date.

Possibly an organization that does paralegal work would be able to verify whether or not he still lives there.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:04 AM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

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