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"Expertise Equals Options” – The SJV Difference for Automated Criminal Research


Anytime we talk about the various methods criminal research can be conducted, we always point out the difference between an in-person visit to a Courthouse, versus conducting research online. Numerous States and Counties provide immediate online access to criminal record information through sponsored websites, some for free, some through subscription methods. Without getting too far down the rabbit hole of ‘conventional’ versus ‘automated’ research, we’d like this blog post to specifically feature the key differences with the TYPES of Automated Criminal Research that we provide our customers.

The reason there’s more than one, or different types of automation data output, is because we were the very first criminal research provider that embraced automated research, and offered it as an enhancement to the in-person research method we had already been providing for over a decade up to that point in time. With this expertise, we’re able to provide an unmatched offering, so let’s take a moment to walk through what that offering entails, shall we? We’re going to start with the most automated solution possible, then progress into offerings that are partially automated and still require manual, human processes to compliment and complete them.

1. Match-No/Match

An automated search that provides an indication of a clear, or a possible presence of a hit online.  It provides no further details.  It’s either clear, or there might be a hit and then you have to figure out what you want to do next.  This was originally the first type automation made available for criminal research, but other improvements in automation have made this a less attractive offering. However, it is still very popular for conducting Federal PACER at the State-Level, reducing a lot of work associated confirming hits with no ID’s online.

2. Full Extraction (Raw Data that is Normalized)

An automated search providing a clear or hit, with all of the hit information from the website going back to your system.  No person touches these results, which is why we call it ‘Raw Data’.  The ‘Normalized’ part is our system automatically changing certain abbreviations and case information such as changing ‘F’ to say ‘Felony’ or ‘Poss FA’ to ‘Possession of Firearm’.  We have over 10,000 unique data points our system changes automatically to ‘normalize’ the data.  This is the fastest product to produce hits, but case details and sentencing information are not 100% cleaned up like most users want it, and we don’t do any extra scrubbing or detaching of cases.  The only downside to consuming this product? Well, you might end up with false positive results on a common name, with this product.

3. Full Extraction (Fully Formatted)

An automated search providing a clear or hit, with all hits being assigned to our internal Processing Team for a QA/QC scrub and confirmation before going back to customers.  Basically, it’s just like when a field researcher sends in a record to us…we have to clean up the data, confirm ID’s, detach cases according to client-specific reporting guidelines, etc.  SJV was the very first supplier to ever offer this type of service to the screening industry, as it literally did not exist prior to our introducing it. Customers are simply shifting their internal labor costs over to SJV at the transactional level for cleaning up data gathered via automation, so it can be FCRA adjudicated the second it hits their system.

4. Auto+Investigator

Okay here’s another first brought to you from SJV!  In any area where you can search online but the records information is missing, incomplete, redacted ID’s, etc… We still use automation to begin the search and confirm clears, which go back to customers instantly.  But if ANY possible hit occurs, we automatically reassign the search to a live researcher in the field that visits the Court directly to obtain records information.  That researcher then sends the record information back to our internal Processing Team, and they clean the record up just like I outlined in #3 (Full Extraction Formatted).  This process still produces clears on par with the speed of untouched automation, but it provides a layer of human expertise onto the research and reporting process for records…So you’re really getting the best of both worlds here.