While arrest records have always been public, they were a little difficult to access before they became available on online databases. Nowadays, anyone can search the New York City arrest records within a few minutes for free or a nominal fee, depending on the entity managing the database.
Such ready access makes it possible for parents and employers to check the criminal record of prospective babysitters, employees, neighbors, business associates, and even blind dates. You can also perform a search for your own arrest records, just in case there are unresolved matters from previous encounters with law enforcement officers, or your identity has ever been stolen.
When searching for New York criminal records, you can obtain the information by two means: by accessing an online database, or using offline means. Whichever approach you use, you will need some critical information about the person you are investigating in order to perform an accurate search.
Requirements for searching criminal records
To begin with, you should have the full names of the individual as shown on a government-issued document, like a driver’s license. You may also need to know their maiden name, any aliases used, and their nicknames.
Secondly, you should have the person’s date of birth as indicated in an official source, like a passport or driving license. Thirdly, you should know the individual’s physical address and place of residence, in terms of state and county. Having their Social Security number may also be helpful with the search, though it is not necessary.
You can obtain some of this information from investigative databases with credit header information. Alternatively, you can ask the individual you are investigating to provide you with the necessary details, or to fill in a form. This approach may not necessarily yield truthful details, especially if the person is hiding something. Once you have the correct details, you can proceed with the search.
Accessing NY arrest records from online databases
Online databases provide a fast and simple way to search millions of records. Fortunately, there are numerous websites managed by private entities offering you the opportunity to make criminal record inquiries, either for free or a small fee. You will have access to millions of professional databases that contain a wide range of arrest records, including criminal records for the person you are investigating, if they exist.
While there are many online databases, some of them may not be reliable, especially if they are rarely updated. When searching for New York criminal arrest records website, make sure that you go through the fine print describing the database’s coverage, so you know what kind of information to expect in the search results.
Some sites, for instance, only offer information pertaining to New York sex offenders, which may not be what you are looking for. So, if you intend to find out whether a particular individual has been arrested in New York, you can search the New York State of Correctional Services.
Although searching online databases is fast, simple, and cheap, the records obtained are not comprehensive. These criminal records contain many holes and inaccuracies, which may require you to complement the results offline.
Searching arrest records offline
While this approach takes longer and costs more than searching online databases, it is usually extremely thorough. This is because the New York state Office of Court Administration (OCA) conducts a NY statewide criminal history record search at a fee of $65.
As mentioned earlier, you will be required to provide a name and exact date of birth for the search. The OCA will then search through public records of the 62 NY counties, and provide you with any information they find on pending misdemeanors committed by the person you are investigating.
Stats for New York sex offenders
According to homefacts.com, which is one the numerous websites offering services where you can search the New York sex offender registry, there are 20,680 registered sex offenders in New York State, which translates to a ratio of 10.57 sexual offenders per 10,000 New Yorkers.
You can also search registered sex offenders in NY from the New York Sex Offender Registry, which is maintained by the Division of Criminal justice Service (DCJS). It is important to note that sex offenders are characterized into three levels according to their risk of committing the offense again:
- level 1 offenders have low risk of re-offense
- level 2 have medium level of re-offense
- level 3 have high risk of re-offense. The level of a sex offender is determined by the judge after a court hearing.
The law prohibits the DCJS from listing offenders in level 1 on the public directory. So, any search for New York sex offenders on the public registry would only yield results for level 2 and 3 sex offenders. This registry allows you to search sex offenders by zip code, last name, or county.
The directory posts numerous photographs of any registered New York sex offender as soon as they are availed, so that New Yorkers can have adequate information to keep their families safe. The directory also provides multiple aliases and home and/or work addresses in the offender’s profile.
Whenever possible, the reports also provide additional information, such as the conviction charge, sentence, vehicle information, and supervision conditions for offenders on probation or parole.
Alternative means of obtaining information about a New York sex offender
There are actually four ways to obtain information about a sex offender in NY: The first one is by searching the NY State Sex Offender Registry for level 1 and level 2 perpetrators as mentioned above.
Second, you can call the following numbers for help determining if someone is a child molester:
To establish that the individual you are investigating is indeed on the registry. To verify this, you need the person’s name and one of the following: complete date of birth, exact address, social security number, or driver’s license number.
Third, the local law enforcement can issue a public or community notification. This refers to the release of information on level 2 and level 3 sex offenders living in the community to “persons who have custody of vulnerable individuals based on the offense committed”.
Information released through this manner is usually partial, since the law requires that only an approximate address of level 2 offenders be made public.
Forth, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services provides a copy of the Subdirectory of level 3 sex offenders to the local law enforcement agency, so that the latter can maintain it for the public to access upon request.
It may be important to note that level 1 offenders are only required to register for a set period, usually a minimum of 20 years, while level 2 and 3 offenders register for life.