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CONCLUSION: THE ROLE OF INTERNET BASED CRIMINAL BACKGROUND SEARCHES

In conclusion, Internet-based criminal record searches can be useful in different ways to different users.

To the member of the public who cannot afford a private investigator to do a criminal background check, the Internet-based service in conjunction with free public record searches is far better than nothing.

For the professional investigator, the same service fills different needs:

It provides record checking redundancy in those places where the Internet service overlaps with other searches/record checks that have been made.

It provides a check of areas where the subject is not known to live – presenting an opportunity to identify “away from home” criminal cases.

At least in the case of Crime Smasher, it includes newly available “arrest reports” and “wants and warrants” checks of privately compiled data. Although these data sources contain many data blind spots, for the low cost involved, they do provide a new layer of potentially useful information.

Finally, when it comes to conducting a criminal background check on a person, the first question may be, “Should I try this myself?” or “Should a professional be hired?” In the opinion of this writer, a professional investigator should always be hired when he/she can be afforded. Only in those cases where a professional investigator cannot be afforded should Internet-based services be relied upon as they certainly offer more protection than simply doing nothing.

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