Major Problems with Criminal Backround Checks

criminal backround checksHold your horses.  I intentionally misspelled background in the title. I know, that sounds crazy but hang with me.  I promise there is a good reason for an article on criminal backround checks.

First, I wanted to illustrate how critically important correct spelling is to the background screening process.  One omitted letter is the difference between an applicant with a record and an applicant coming back clear.

It was about this time last year when a church volunteer changed the spelling of his last name by altering two letters.  He changed an “ie” to and “ei” which was very subtle and easy to overlook by the church.

Fortunately for the church, one of our team members noticed the change and ran the background check with both spellings.  He was clear with the inverted letters, clearly his intent.

However, he had more than 20 convictions for voyeurism under his real name.

My good friend Wikipedia defines voyeurism as the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other activity usually considered to be of a private nature.

You may call them Peeping Tom’s.  Seriously, this is a very frightening behavior that is often a precursor to rape.  The “peeping” may be a confidence building stage before he rapes.  Or it may be a process of gathering intelligence about a potential victim.  Does she live alone?  Any kids?  Leave doors unlocked?

The bottom line is this is a sick and potentially dangerous person.  And a very sophisticated criminal who understands the background screening industry and hopes the church is relying on cheap background checks to keep him out.

Sorry dude.  Not this time.

The satisfaction of catching him was short lived because we know he is probably already volunteering at another church or youth organization.  How?  He knows the majority of volunteer organizations rely on cheap $9 or $10 national criminal database searches.  He knows this because national youth organizations promote these cheap partnerships on their websites.  The youth organizations have no idea how risky these checks are because the screening firms have sold them as “national” background checks.

The perpetrator knows they don’t work.  He has passed the test before.

Background screening done correctly requires a trusted partner.    You need a screening firm that is reviewing your orders and confirming identity of applicants, other names, address history and then reviewing information after the background check is completed for accuracy.

The background screening industry has historically offered very low quality products and services. The market wants instant, cheap background checks.  There is no problem wanting this.  However, we have to understand it is impossible.  There is no such thing as an instant criminal background check.

Secondly, instant database searches are very profitable for screening firms.  You input the data and the system spits out results (very little spitting).  And screening firms love these searches because you do all the work.

The example above illustrates the danger in these cheap, low quality screening products.  Is it worth saving $10 to take the risk of missing records on a potential rapist?  I don’t think so.

Don’t settle for criminal backround checks when you can have comprehensive criminal background checks.