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Are National Criminal Database (NCD) Checks Enough?

April 16, 2019


April 16, 2019

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So, here you are. Your boss is asking you to hire some new employees for the first time and you are not sure where to start. If only there was an HR department who knew how to handle this!

You don’t want to let her down, so you decide to check your resources, those resources being the google search bar on your computer. After an extensive 30 seconds of research you find out there is a “National Criminal Database”. It’s even affordable. Great, right? Well, it isn’t all you hoped it would be. This “database” may be quick, cheap and easy but you need to make sure that it is verified. We’ll outline what exactly the “National Criminal Database” is and what you need to know.

So, what does the National Criminal Database do?

  • It pulls from over 500 million records
  • The NCD gathers records from thousands of jurisdictions
  • Record contributions come from all 50 states
  • Records come from a variety of resources

That sounds like a lot of great information, right? Well, there is a problem. There really is no such thing as a National Criminal Database. Most of these databases are assembled and sold by private businesses and are not verified or as “National” as they sound.

What are 3 major problems with the National Criminal Database?

  1. Records are Incomplete – This means that you could see a candidate has a misdemeanor and not know what exactly it is for. You won’t be able to narrow down what it is for unless you run a real background check or ask the candidate themselves (and hope they tell the truth). Another important thing to note is, just because they have over 500 million records does NOT mean that they have all of the records on a candidate. You could be missing out on some very important information that would disqualify the candidate. By missing this you could be putting your business, customers, and employees at risk of a new hire with an undesirable background. Out of 3,200 counties in the United States, only approximately 1,500 counties make up the records of the National Criminal Database!
  2. Out of Date Records – Say a candidate was incorrectly charged for something while awaiting trial and were soon after found innocent. The National Criminal Database may not have that update and will show that they have pending charges. This could put you in the position to deny a candidate based on incorrect information and even at risk for a lawsuit based on not verifying the information you received.
  3. Compliance – Because this information could be incomplete or out of date, it is important to have court records or country records to verify the checks. If not, you could have a potentially indefensible court case.

So, how do you make sure that you are not putting your company at risk when your boss comes in asking you to complete background checks for the first time?

By combining the National Criminal Database with a verifiable investigative service to get accurate, up-to-date and compliant data. We recommend a county check in addition to the National Criminal Database to make sure that you are not placing untrue reliance on a criminal check that you assumed was comprehensive.

It is important to remember that no criminal record system can be completely comprehensive. Every system has limitations in one way or another and you do not want any surprises because you didn’t do your due diligence as a company.

What is a County Criminal Check & Why Do You Need It?

  • A country criminal check provides an in-depth search at a country level, where most records occur.
  • A search of the NCD without a county-level search would be insufficient.  Information found with just an NCD does not contain up to date information and would be incomplete.  A county level criminal check should always be used with an NCD search.
  • County criminal records make up a majority of criminal offenses.  They are located in county courthouses which span 3,200 counties in the United States.  NCD searches are an indicator to country records.
  • All felony and misdemeanor criminal records, in any case (guilty, dismissed, etc) and cases tried locally, will be housed at the local court.

At Crimcheck we highly recommend at the minimum, a country criminal background check when using the National Criminal Database.

Reach out to Crimcheck to see what options are exactly right for your needs. We can show you affordable options for your basic background check needs to all-inclusive options for more in-depth needs.

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