How to Find an Arrest Record

You often interact with dozens of people every day. You pass your neighbors on the street, sit among strangers in the coffee shop, and communicate with all kinds of different people at work. You may not share personal information with everyone you meet, but many of them inevitably have access to it. They may know where your kids go to school, when you leave home for work, and where you park when you go to the gym. So, how can you be sure the people around you are trustworthy enough to share your life with?

It may not be feasible to search for criminal histories for everyone you encounter, but you should certainly be entitled to crucial information for the ones closest to you. For example, do your kids play at a particular neighbor’s house on occasion? If so, you certainly want to know who they’re hanging out with. This information isn’t as difficult to find as you think. You just have to have a few critical identifiers and get specific with your search to get the arrest record.

Background check websites

Using a background check website is probably the easiest way to find someone’s arrest records. With a reputable site, you can easily enter just the information you have and narrow down your search from there. For a nominal fee, they’ll return information gathered from government records, such as arrests, sexual offender status, credit history, and previous addresses.

Sex offender registries

Anyone who has children knows the fears that come along with knowing that children interact with strangers every day. In these cases, finding out who your neighbors are is crucial, especially when someone new moves in. Fortunately, the convicted sex offender registry is public information and free for anyone to search. It’s even available as a smartphone app so that you can instantly search for anyone by name. It’s also a federal law that sex offenders register with the community anytime they move to a new home. So, not only can you quickly perform a search online, but you can also call your city officials to find out if there are any sex offenders located in your neighborhood.

Criminal history

Criminal histories not found on sex offender registries or public records can be more difficult to obtain. Each state has its own laws and restrictions governing how much of this information is made available to the public. Sometimes, you can visit your local courthouse and get a little more information than you can online, but you usually have to have some type of valid reason for needing it. And it still may not be released to you unless you’re a member of law enforcement. Also, keep in mind that federal records are usually much harder to access than local arrests.


While there’s a lot of controversy on how much legal information should be public, newspapers are still an easy and free way to find out a little about someone’s past. Of course, these are limited sources of information, but you never know what you’ll find. Many newspapers print daily crime reports. These reports may or may not contain names, depending on what state they’re printed in.

In order to find archived information like this, you’ll probably have to search online. Most newspaper websites even include a search bar specifically for archived articles. If you know where the person you’re searching for lived before, you may be able to search newspaper sites for previous communities as well as present. Keep in mind that smaller communities may not keep their archives online and you may only be able to find tidbits of information. But what you do find may serve as a starting point for digging a little deeper.

Keep these tips in mind to help you find the records of people you — or your children — interact with.

Also Read: How to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children With Disabilities

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