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Free, easy backgrounding tools for citizens

Post by News Tribune Staff on April 30, 2008 at 1:45 pm with No Comments »
April 30, 2008 1:45 pm

Jane Doe asked in another post how one can background individuals for free — to see, for example, if the person you’re renting an apartment from or starting to date has a criminal history.

One good place to start is the state courts Web site.

Another place to look for Pierce County is our local courts Web site. Click search, push the button for criminal cases and set the years to give you the widest range possible.

I would also recommend a simple google search. For younger people, you might also try MySpace, Facebook and the like.

Update: A savvy reader reminded me that I should point out that these types of searches come with a number of caveats. The records available online are not always complete and one would need to check the court records themselves to be 100% sure. You also need to be wary of people who have the same or similar names. That can lead to false negatives and positives. Having a middle name helps a lot. But, these tools can still be helpful. I’m thinking about writing a public service type story sometime in the near future that would show in a little more detail how to background someone.

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