The NCRD – Why You Need to Understand It and Use It

The NCRD – Why You Need to Understand It and Use It

By Gavin Smith


Background screening has become a staple tool for employers; a large percentage of companies wouldn’t even consider putting someone on the payroll without a comprehensive screen.  It can be a huge challenge, however, to get a program up and running, especially if you are a smaller company.  The hardest part is simply, “Where do I start?”  

Screening companies list various searches, traces and checks on their websites. But starting out, you need to know what search offers a good baseline, while giving you peace of mind that you did your due diligence.  The solution can be found in four letters: NCRD, or National Criminal Records Database.  This article will explain what an NCRD is, how it works, and why is it a vital piece of any comprehensive background check.

The NCRD is an expeditious database search conducted by EBI.  The database is a compilation of criminal records, Department of Corrections information, Sex Offender information, municipal, circuit, district and superior court repositories.  Almost instantly, this search culls through the millions of offense records, spanning 50 states and multiple jurisdictions. 

Many criminal record searches can only be conducted online, through a court, state or local government website.  However, in these instances, almost across the board, access to these sites will require registration, login information, extensive time, and even credit card information, as most jurisdictions charge fees to search their online databases.  Needless to say, even if you knew what courts you wanted to search, this would take an incomprehensible amount of time, effort and money to conduct as an individual. The NCRD bypasses all of those road blocks.

This vital tool is the foundation of any comprehensive criminal background check.  It is the jumping off point for locating any criminal offenses that may have occurred within and outside of the areas where your subject has lived or not identified by a Social Security Trace.  For example, let’s say a male subject has lived his whole life in Indiana. If you ran a records check in his current county of residence in Indiana he may or may not come up clean in that one area. Now let’s say he let that area and went to visit his grandmother in Philadelphia, PA.  And on his way there he got arrested for and charged with a misdemeanor in Columbus, OH.  The NCRD would most likely find that.  Now let’s say while he was at his grandmother’s, he got arrested for and charged with drug possession.  You would also most likely know that.  You wouldn’t have otherwise uncovered any of that without an NCRD search.  You would have had to have ordered Philadelphia and Franklin counties, respectively, but you wouldn’t have known to even look there in the first place.

The NCRD is never the only component you should employ in conducting a comprehensive criminal background check.  It does not cover every county in the U.S., nor does it always return complete information.  Because NCRD results are database information, only bits and pieces of criminal information could return that were never communicated and updated from a given court.  This is why, internally, we always verify any NCRD information at the original jurisdiction. 

Basically, the NCRD can highlight offenses in places you might never know to look.  Searching criminal records only where your candidate claimed to have lived leaves too many stones unturned.   Don’t guess! EBI believes an NCRD search is one of the strongest tools available and should be a part of every criminal background check.


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Gavin Smith

Gavin Smith

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