Virginia’s Statewide Criminal Database Recently Revealed to be Missing More than 750,000 Records

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Virginia’s Statewide Criminal Database Recently Revealed to be Missing More than 750,000 Records

A recent review of Virginia’s Central Criminal Records Exchange revealed that more than 750,000 records were missing from their database. The Central Criminal Records Exchange is a resource that’s used by agencies and employers nationwide to determine, among other reasons, whether or not their subjects are eligible for a job or to purchase a firearm. The system, which is managed by the Virginia State Police, had omitted multiple serious cases including 300 murder convictions, 4,600 felony assault convictions, and 1,300 rape convictions.

It’s important to know exactly what to expect out of a criminal record check when you order a search for one of your candidates. A statewide record check generally casts a wide net at a reasonable price, but at the expense of varying degrees of quality as shown here. Not all local agencies reliably report case information to state agencies and this can result in incomplete records, or no records at all, being entered into their databases.

However, state agency databases are not the only sources of criminal records; an industry standard alternative is to run countywide checks. These searches, while narrowing the scope of the request, can yield more detailed records. Running a countywide search in conjunction with a statewide check can help ensure you’re receiving a comprehensive criminal history report!

The good news is that if you’re a CRC client, you don’t have to worry about the missing database records! Our compliance team has analyzed each state’s repository’s turnaround time, scope, availability of records, and special requirements so databases such as Virginia’s Central Criminal Records Exchange are not utilized. Instead, we have a list of approved states where statewide criminal searches can be conducted without the addition of a countywide check.

Update – 01/09/2019: The Virginia State Crime Commission (SCC) recently provided recommendations to remedy the issues that led to the Central Criminal Records Exchange database’s missing records. In addition to providing steps to make the appropriate internal policies and procedures updates to complete the database, the SCC also suggested that gaps in the law could be amended to account for finger printable offenses moving forward. According to the SCC, about 90 percent of the 750,000 missing records lacked fingerprints while around 10 percent were missing due to other errors. As there is no current timeline on when the SCC’s recommendations will be implemented, countywide searches continue to be the most comprehensive source for records in that Virginia. We will continue to monitor these database developments and post updates as they’re received.

Do you have any questions about the differences between a statewide and countywide search or are you interested in running background checks with CRC? Are you a current client who would like more information about our Approved States list? Give us a call at (877) 272-0266 and we can help!