There are many times you need to trust someone without really knowing much about the person. Babysitters, new neighbors, school teachers, employees, tenants and landlords, janitors and plumbers are just some of the examples where we associate with people and even invite them into our homes. But what would you do if you found out that the person had a criminal record?
There are several paid services online where you can find out details of somebody’s shady past. In most cases, so-called ‘”free” sites are simply marketing tricks to get you to pay for the information you really need. However, since everything at MakeUseOf is truly free, here is how you can perform a free criminal background check online without paying a dime. Note that this is valid only for US residents.
Criminal Searches allows you to:
- Search criminal records by first and last name, optionally filtered by US state
- Search criminals in a neighborhood
- Search sex offenders in a neighborhood
- Sign up to receive alerts on criminal records of up to 5 names
- Get criminal statistics based on types of crime, ethnicity, gender and age
Search by Name
Criminal search results are categorized into Behavioral, Business, Drug & Alcohol, Sex Related, Theft & Robbery, Violent, and Traffic/Other. Not surprisingly, you will notice that criminals like to change names and the site shows you all the different names associated with that person.
Clicking the View Details button will take you to a detailed page with the free criminal background info about a specific individual. Where available, you can see information that can help identify a person such as age, height, race, eye color, hair color, etc.
A list of all offenses is seen along with details of each offense such as date and place of conviction, the verdict and sentence.
Free Criminal Background Check by Neighborhood
When you search an address or a neighborhood area for criminals, you get a Google Map mashup with the locations and types of criminals in that area. You can use the usual Google Map controls to move, zoom in/out, etc. Click on any of the offenders to see brief details from where you can jump to the full details of that person. For example, here is a map of criminals in Trenton, NJ:
Sex Offender Search
The Sex Offender search works in similar fashion, showing you a Google Map with locations of registered sex offenders. A search in Los Angeles for example revealed 77 registered sex offenders. Detailed information on each offender is seen on the left, when you click any offender icon in the map.
If you know more details of a specific person you suspect, you can use the Advanced Search that allows you to do a free criminal background check using middle name, address, age range, or even date of birth.
The statistics section of the website with pretty pie charts is compelling for anyone with even a passing interest in crime studies. The crime category chart allows you to further dig into each type. For example, Theft and Robbery can be further segmented into Stolen Property, Burglary, Fraud, Larceny, and so on.
Suspect someone? Want to check how safe is your neighborhood? Go to Criminal Searches and find out.
Important: Please be careful to use this website as a starting point. Remember that free checks work only on publicly available information and may not always be comprehensive. If your safety is at stake, it is best to get paid professional services before placing your faith in someone.
Also note that harassing anyone on the offender registry database is a misdemeanor and can be punished both by a fine and jail time.
You can also check out previously profiled SpotCrime for crime reports in your neighborhood and Family Watchdog to get a map view of the National Sex Offender registry. Did you find Criminal Searches useful? Liked this post? Tell us in the comments!
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