Crime Records Overview

August 27, 2020

Over the past decade, significant federal legislation (the Brady Bill, the National Child Protection Act, the Volunteers for Children Act, and the Patriot Act) and funding initiatives (National Criminal History Improvement Program, Edward Byrne Memorial Block Grant “5% Set Aside” Program, and the Crime Identification Technology Act) have emphasized the need for the improvement of criminal history records across the country, as well as the need for justice information to be shared across disciplines. The sustained emphasis on improved information and sharing derives from the national interest in accurate data for background checks on firearm purchases; pre-employment searches on person serving children, the elderly, and the disabled; and increasingly for homeland security background searches and investigations. Rapid identification of persons by fingerprints and electronic data sharing in standardized formats are core goals for all of these programs.

The Crime Records Service depends heavily on state and local law enforcement agencies across the country, as well as the FBI. The Interstate Identification Index is a cooperative program between the FBI and the states to facilitate the exchange of information among those states and the FBI in order to reduce duplication of effort in records retention and demands accurate information for success. NCIC 2000 is a FBI program that links local and state communications systems into a shared database where information concerning wanted persons, stolen firearms, stolen automobiles, missing persons, terrorists, etc., can be accessed by any participant. Currently, this program is being expanded to simplify and broaden search capability.

Crime Records Service administers the following programs and services designed to meet the needs of both the public and justice communities: