Do background checks focus mostly on a person’s arrest record?

Do background checks focus mostly on a person’s arrest record?

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My curiosity is prompted by a news story I heard recently. One of the suspects in the crime in the story was a local Girl Scout leader. I’m assuming the local GS council ran a background check onher. How did she slip through the cracks?


  1. Background checks do look chiefly for criminal activity, as in arrest and conviction records. Different agencies do different levels of checks and not all background checks catch old arrest records, or even out of state records. Minor offenses are not included, and the leader you mentioned may not have a record to check

  2. actually, girl scouts is a volunteer program, most that I know of do not do a background screening process, as for the rest of it, yes a background screening will mostly focus on your criminal past, based on where you have lived, and have reported addresses. there are multiple ways of looking up the information, and it completely depends on what kind of searches a person runs. If you wish to know further information about it, you’d have to be a little bit more specific. but if you go to my company’s website, it can explain what kind of searches we do into a person’s background.

  3. There is no universal standard for a "background check". One common component to a check, tho, would be a local or national criminal record check (assuming you’re US based, here), thru NCIC.

    NCIC records will show arrests and convictions, if the data was properly entered by local jurisdictions, generally. If this individual had no arrest record, an NCIC check would show nothing.

    Other background investigation tools entail sending someone out to question the subjects neighbors, family, an co-workers…going back as far as you’re willing to pay. That can add up quick, so it’s unlikely that the GSA performed that type of a BI on a local leader.

    Also, bear in mind that a clean background doesn’t *prevent* any one from "going bad" tomorrow!

  4. Just FYI, background checks are now standard for volunteers who work with children. Girl Scouts had them when my kids started a decade ago, and they have been getting steadily more rigorous.

    But – a background check can only find what is on the record. And the woman had none (at the time).

    Take note that Girl Scout rules say that no child is ever left alone with an adult. There must always be two *unrelated, not in the same household* adults present at all times. So the girls did have that layer of protection.

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