What’s In The NCIC Database? Access Your Own Record

Accessing the National Crime Information Center

The NCIC, National Crime Information Center, under the authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), established on January 27, 1967, is a centralized digital index of criminal justice information (i.e.- criminal record history information, fugitives, stolen properties, missing persons). All records in NCIC are protected from unauthorized access through stringent administrative, physical, and technical safeguards.

Who has access to the NCIC?

The NCIC is available to:

  1. Employees of federal, state, and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies have access to NCIC, and the live database is accessible to them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Also, every agency that participates in the maintenance of this database is required to follow specific guidelines for ensuring that records are accurate and updated in a timely fashion, and
  2. Employers can only access NCIC data in certain regulated circumstances, such as conducting pre-employment screenings for positions that involve working with children or dependent adults.

What records does the NCIC maintain?

The NCIC databases report both arrests and convictions. The database is permanent, so information on all cases never goes away. The NCIC database includes 22 files: 15 person files and seven property files.

Person files:

  • Missing Person File: Records on people—including children—who have been reported missing to law enforcement and there is a reasonable concern for their safety.
  • Foreign Fugitive File: Records on people wanted by another country for a crime that would be a felony if it were committed in the United States.
  • Identity Theft File: Records containing descriptive and other information that law enforcement personnel can use to determine if an individual is a victim of identity theft or if the individual might be using a false identity.
  • Immigration Violator File: Records on criminal aliens whom immigration authorities have deported and aliens with outstanding administrative warrants of removal.
  • Protection Order File: Records on people against whom protection orders have been issued.
  • Supervised Release File: Records on people on probation, parole, or supervised release or released on their own recognizance or during pre-trial sentencing.
  • Unidentified Person File: Records on unidentified deceased people, living persons who are unable to verify their identities, unidentified victims of catastrophes, and recovered body parts. The file cross-references unidentified bodies against records in the Missing Persons File.
  • U.S. Secret Service Protective File: Records containing names and other information on people who are believed to pose a threat to the U.S. president and/or others afforded protection by the U.S. Secret Service.
  • Gang File: Records on violent gang groups and their members.
  • Known or Appropriately Suspected Terrorist File: Records on known or appropriately suspected terrorists.
  • Wanted Person File: Records on criminals (including juveniles who may have been tried as adults) for whom a federal warrant or a felony or misdemeanor warrant is outstanding.
  • National Sex Offender Registry File: Records on people who are required to register in a jurisdiction’s sex offender registry.
  • National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Denied Transaction File: Records on people who have been determined to be classified as a “forbidden person” according to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and were denied as a result of a NICS background check.
  • Violent Person File: Once fully populated with data from the users, this file will contain records of persons with a violent criminal history and persons who have previously threatened law enforcement.
  • Protective Interest File:  Records of individuals whom an authorized agency reasonably believes, based on its law enforcement investigation, might pose a threat to the physical safety of protectees or their immediate families.

Property files:

  • Article File: Records on stolen articles and lost public safety, homeland security, and critical infrastructure identification.
  • Boat File: Records on stolen boats.
  • Gun File: Records on stolen, lost, and recovered weapons and weapons that are designed to expel a projectile by air, carbon dioxide, or explosive action and have been used in the commission of crimes.
  • License Plate File: Records on stolen license plates and vehicles.
  • Securities File: Records on serially numbered stolen, embezzled, used for ransom, or counterfeit securities.
  • Vehicle and Boat Parts File: Records on serially numbered stolen vehicle or boat parts for which the serial number may have been altered or removed.
  • Vehicle File: Records on stolen vehicles (and their license plates), vehicles involved in the commission of crimes, or vehicles that may be taken from the owner by force based on federally issued court order.

How can I get my own NCIC record, if one exists?

Contact your local law enforcement agency. Local law enforcement agencies such as the police department, sheriff’s department and state police have access to the NCIC database. Tell the agency’s staff that you want a copy of your NCIC report. Attorneys can obtain authorization from their clients to access NCIC records on their clients behalves.

Show law enforcement personnel a valid ID. Examples of valid ID include your driver’s license, Social Security card or passport. The law enforcement agency will also fingerprint you.

Tangentially, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, joining 20 other states and Washington D.C., issued its first gender neutral driver’s licenses Friday, June 3, 2022, that allows people to mark “X” rather than male or female under a new state law that officially takes effect June 24, 2022. If, however, you are involved in a vehicle stop by a police officer, they will run your plates, license and registration through the NCIC – as they should – for outstanding warrants and stolen vehicle checks. The NCIC databases are not gender neutral.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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