You may have numerous reasons to want to find someone’s mugshot at some point in your life. Perhaps you’re a landlord or a tenant and you want to check out the record of someone you may rent to or live with. In other cases, you could be curious about someone’s record if you recently started dating them, or they’re a new friend and you have an uneasy feeling about them.

You may also want to look into your neighbors, to make sure you’re living in a safe area. If you feel unsafe at home, it can take a huge toll on your mental wellness. Whatever your reason, finding the mugshots or arrest records of someone could be a valuable way to protect your safety. If you need a step-by-step guide for finding mugshots, follow these three steps.

Research your intended target

The first step in any investigation is to gather as much information as possible. At the bare minimum, you should know a person’s first and last name and where they have a primary residence. However, it can also be important to know other details about their lives to narrow down your search results, especially if the person in question has a common name.

Some examples of extra information that it would be good to have to ensure you pull up the right record are siblings, parents, or spouse names, alternate last names if they were ever married, previous residences, and middle names. All of these things will improve results and make sure you grab the right mugshots.

If you need help finding out this information, get creative. Pull out a phone book — yes, a physical phone book — to look up current or previous addresses. You can also use your network to find out small details about the person such as middle name or family names by casually asking their friends. 

Use a trusted service to find the mugshots

The next thing you’ll need to do is finding a high-quality service to search through records. Some services charge a small fee, but it’s worth it for accurate and up-to-date information, especially when your safety is involved.

It would also benefit you to find a service that narrows down your search by location from the start. So, for instance, if you are looking for Santa Cruz mugshots, you won’t be inundated with records from other cities or states. This will save you time in your search, and ensure that you get your information before it’s too late.

 You can find records for free through county courts’ websites, but using an online search service will make sure that you find everything you need without parsing through an outdated court website and with no legal jargon. 

Carefully use the information you find

The last step in your search, after you have pinpointed the right profile of records, is to think carefully about all your future movements. It is not a wise idea, especially if the person you looked up has a history of violent crimes, to immediately advertise that you know about their record.

You should use the information only to inform your own choices about where to live, and the people you should date, hire or rent to. Always keep in mind the legal definition of blackmail, and ensure that you don’t accidentally commit a crime by threatening to reveal someone’s embarrassing record.

If you follow the above three steps, you’ll have all the information you need about someone to make informed decisions about your life and feel safe while you’re doing it.