What is the National Criminal Index?
TruDiligence Knowledgebase – Background Check Services
The National Criminal Database Search Explained
Although this issue is in our regular circulation of informational topics for the client base, we thought it important to address it here in more detail as interest in the national criminal database is always high, and for good reason. It is not uncommon to see a new user’s head spin when they are first informed there is not a single, comprehensive system for accessing criminal records on a “national” scale. To perform a true criminal background check of “source records”, you must conduct your searches at either the individual county or state level. The obvious question that arises when we recommend this jurisdictional research method is, “what if my applicant has criminal records in a jurisdiction I am unaware of and therefore do not search?” The honest answer is, this is the unfortunate gaping hole in the entire background check process. Because of the lack of a “nationwide” system, the possibility will always exist that records may be present in a jurisdiction we are unaware of and therefore do not search.
In an effort to minimize the threat of missing records and to create a broader search, TruDiligence does offer a national / multi-state criminal database. By definition, the national criminal database is a “third party” database which comprises records obtained from the individual state-level Department of Corrections and county-level courts, where available. It currently only covers about 65-70% of the country and update schedules will vary by jurisdiction. Coverage details are available athttps://www.trudiligence.com/docs/nationalcriminalcoverage.pdf.
Because of the spotty coverage, the database search is priced very reasonably making it attractive as a search tool. However, it is very important to realize, national database systems are dependent upon getting their data from the individual state and county jurisdictions. If an individual state or county does not update its data to the national system on a regular basis, or at all for that matter, the system will have holes in its coverage area. Therefore, national database records should be used only as a tool to uncover areas requiring additional research.
Because of the lack of complete coverage, TruDiligence does not recommend the use of the national database as a “standalone search” nor a means of promoting “due diligence” in screening practices or maintaining compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. County-level courthouse records are recommended for this purpose.
As a best practice, you should use the national database only as a supplement to your local jurisdictional searches. If you are relying on only the national criminal database as your source for criminal background checks, you are leaving your organization open to failures within your screening practices. Although we are completely sensitive to budgetary constraints, there is no substitute for the accuracy and diligence that is provided by conducting direct, county and/or state level research.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Should you choose to use the National Criminal Database as a broad search tool and a record is found, the search results automatically will be validated with a direct search of the source county courthouse records. This validation is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act Sections 607 and 613 to ensure accuracy of the result provided by the “third party” database. Any additional cost associated with this process will be billed at published rates.
Pricing is on a per name searched basis.
Consumers may request a free annual file disclosure pursuant to the Free Annual File Disclosure Rule, 12 C.F.R. Subpart N., by calling 1-800-580-0474, or by sending a written request to TruDiligence LLC, 3190 S Wadsworth Blvd, Suite 260, Lakewood, CO 80227.
Consumers may check the status of their request by dialing 800-580-0474.
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