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Your living environment consists of your home, property, and the neighborhood where you’re located. Safety is a primary concern for many people as they wonder who their neighbors are and how much vigilance they need to exert to keep themselves and their families safe. One way to answer the question is my area safe is to conduct an Internet search to see who lives in your neighborhood and gauge its overall safety. You can conduct a search for felons in your area to get a relative idea of how safe the area is and if you can rest easy at night. It’ll make it easy to find out if someone is a convicted felon or not.

Search for the Name

The first thing to do if you suspect that someone in your neighborhood is a felon is to do a general Internet search on their name under the news section to locate relevant articles that can assist you in finding out the details you’re on the hunt for. You won’t get an alert that they are a felon when you search, but you can find news articles such as police blotters, sentencing, and other information that can give you additional insight into who your neighbors are. Place quotation marks around the person’s name and add in the city and/or state where you’re located to narrow down the results, especially if the person has a common first or last name. Use multiple search engines to broaden the scope and find the most information possible about the person, crime, punishment, and potential victims. Some of the top search engines to use include, in order of overall popularity:

1. Google
2. Bing (Microsoft)
3. Yahoo!
4. Baidu
5. Ask

Court Records

Court records can be tricky, but some information is available online to the general public to make it easier to find out if your neighbor is a criminal. Look into your town or county jail system by typing the person’s name in to see if anything comes up and it makes it easy to find the results of a court case. Start with a general search because getting too specific can make you come up empty-handed in your quest to answer questions and to find out if convicted felons live in my neighborhood. You might also benefit from going to your local library for access to resources such as law databases and court documents that aren’t available from the comfort of your own home. Some of the common public record databases that require a membership from a library or university include:

• WestLaw
• LexisNexis
• CourtLink
• CourtExpress
• U.S. Party Case Index (PACER)

Keep in mind that not all records are publically accessible and you might not find what you’re looking for in these databases, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the person isn’t a felon.

Other Resources

If you’re coming up without results using local jurisdictions or public information, you can also look to the National Sex Offender Registry if the person has been convicted of felony sex crime. This is limited to sex crimes and won’t include other felonies such as those related to violence, theft, or drugs. However, this will help you find out if someone is a sex offender or not. You should also receive a notification if a sex offender moves into your neighborhood to give you a heads up about their name, what they look like, and where they’re going to be living. This is common after someone has been released from jail or prison and is required to be on the official sex offender registry. Also use the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator to determine if the person has been convicted of a federal crime since 1982, although you won’t be able to see what that person has been convicted of without additional research and resources.

It can be worrisome and concerning to wonder if the area that you live in is safe. Ease this fear by utilizing the resources available at your fingertips to find out if your neighbor is a criminal. It’s not very comforting to suddenly realize that I have felons near my house without knowing the nature of their crimes. You’ll give yourself greater peace of mind and have a better understanding of your surroundings if you remain vigilant and do research about the people you come into contact with.