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50 Safest Colleges in America

When you go away to college or, better yet, send your child away for an advanced education, you want the peace of mind knowing that they are safe.  To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the 50 Safest Colleges in America.   The data to create this list was obtained from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, who keep statistics on campus crime.  Criteria for making this list were public and private 4-year universities in the U.S., with an enrollment of at least 5,000 students. Primarily online institutions were not included and most recent data available was for calendar years 2011-2013.

#1 Touro College

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Established in 1970, this independent university of over 19,000 students in New York City, NY was named after Jewish leaders Judah and Isaac Touro.  The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, and there were no on-campus crimes reported for Touro College.

#2 Northwest Florida State College

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With over 14,000 undergraduates enrolled, this state college in Niceville, FL is part of the Florida College System.  The 264-acre campus in the Ft. Walton Beach area of Florida’s Panhandle provides a variety of undergraduate degrees, and there were no on-campus crime incidents here.

#3 New York Institute of Technology

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A private research university founded in 1955, NYIT is located in New York City, NY and its main Old Westbury campus encompasses over 1,000 acres.  With over 12,000 students, there were no on-campus crime incidents reported at NYIT.

#4 Bellevue University

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Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university located in Bellevue, NE.  With an enrollment of over 10,000, the university has been operating since 1966 and is the 4th largest private college in Nebraska.  There were no on-campus crimes reported here.

#5 Saint Joseph’s College

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Established in 1916, this private liberal arts college offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level in more than 25 areas.  Recognized repeatedly as among  “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News and World Report, the Brooklyn campus of over 5,000 students has no on-campus crimes reported.

#6 Hawaii Pacific University

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Located in Honolulu, HI, this private co-ed university of over 7,000 students was established in 1965.  There was just one on-campus burglary reported during the study period.

#7 Franklin University

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A private university in Columbus, OH, Franklin University was originally founded in 1902 through a sponsorship by the Columbus YMCA.  Now with almost 8,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs, its main campus had just one burglary reported during the study period.

#8 Governors State University

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Governors State University is a public university located in University Park, Ill, south of Chicago.  GSU was founded in 1969 and, as of 2014, went from just an upper-level university to one that offers undergraduate through doctorate level degrees. There was only one on-campus crime reported involving a vehicle.

#9 Saint Johns River State College

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St. Johns River State College is a member of the Florida College System and is located in Palatka, FL, on the state’s northeast coast.  The college has over 7,000 enrolled students and  is an accredited arts school.  There were just two on-campus crimes listed during the reporting period at this school.

#10 Colorado Christian University

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Colorado Christian University (CCU) is a private, interdenominational Christian liberal arts university of just over 5,000 students.  Located in Lakewood, CO, the school was founded in 1914 at the Denver Bible Institute and offers 45 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.  There were only two on-campus incidents during the reporting period.

#11 Wilmington University

Located in historic New Castle, Delaware, this private non-profit university has an enrollment of over 20,000 students.  Many degree programs are offered in its seven colleges at the undergraduate and graduate level.  There were just three on-campus crimes reported at this school.

#12 Regent University

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A private Christian university located in Virginia Beach, VA, Regent University was founded by Pat Robertson in 1977.  The university offers over 70 courses of study, including a School of Law and a School of Divinity.  There were three on-campus crimes reported at this university.

#13 University of Houston-Downtown

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UHD is a four-year state university in Houston, TX that is the second largest university in the Houston area.  The 14,000 students at UHD attend a 20 acre downtown campus, and UHD has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as No. 7 among top public universities.  Four on-campus crimes were reported at UHD during the reporting period.

#14 CUNY Brooklyn College

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With over 16,000 students, the senior college of the City University of New York in Brooklyn has been ranked multiple times by The Princeton Review as a top college for value.   This liberal arts college has five on-campus crimes reported during the period covered.

#15 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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A member of the University System of Wisconsin, UW-La Crosse was founded in 1909 and offers over 100 degree programs in its five schools.  The school as over 10,00 students enrolled and had five on-campus crimes to report.

#16 Metropolitan State University

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Also known as Metro State, this public university located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota has over 11,000 students enrolled.  There are over 70 degree programs at several academic levels. The school had six on-campus crimes reported.

#17 Indiana University-Southeast

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Located in New Albany, Indiana, the Indiana University Southeast is a part of the Indiana University system and is located in the Louisville, KY metropolitan area.  There are over 55 degree programs at this school of 6,800 enrolled students.  Six on-campus crimes were reported at this school.

#18 University of Michigan-Dearborn

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One of two satellite campuses of the University of Michigan, UM-Dearborn has over 9,000 students and offers over 100 degree programs.  In 2014, UM-D was ranked the 36th best university in the Midwest by U.S. News.  There were seven on-campus crimes reported here during the reporting period.

#19 College of Central Florida

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Located in Ocala, FL, this public state college is a member of the Florida College System and offers bachelor’s degrees in several areas.  With over 18,000 students enrolled, there were seven on-campus crimes reported here.

#20 University of California-Merced

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The tenth and newest of the University of California campuses, UC Merced, is located in Central California.  The campus owns over 7,000 acres of land and has a current enrollment of over 6,000 students pursuing a choice of 21 majors.  There were seven on-campus crimes reported here.

#21 Farmingdale State College

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Located on Long Island in East Farmingdale, NY, Farmingdale State College is part of the SUNY system and is a public college of the State University of New York. With over 8,000 enrolled students, the schools offers 29 baccalaureate degrees, and there were just eight on-campus reported at this school.

 

#22 CUNY New York City College of Technology

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Located in downtown Brooklyn’s City Triangle, City Tech has over 17,000 students enrolled in its 66 baccalaureate programs.  This public college had nine on-campus incidents reported.

#23 The New School

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The New School is a private, non-profit progressive university located in Greenwich Village, New York City.   With over 9,000 students enrolled, the school has a rich history in its open and intellectual teaching environment.  The New School had just nine on-campus crimes reported.

#24 Duquesne University

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Duquesne University is private Catholic university located in Pittsburgh, PA.  Founded in 1878, the school now has over 10,000 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs.  There were just nine on-campus incidents reported here.

#25 Biola University

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Originally founded in 1908 as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, Biola University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts school in southern California.  With just over 6,000 enrolled students, this university in La Mirada, CA had nine on-campus crimes reported.

#26 CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

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The Baruch College of the City University of New York system is located in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan in New York City.  With over 17,000 enrolled students, the school offers undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs.  There were ten on-campus crimes reported here during the reporting period.

#27 Savannah College of Art and Design

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Located in Savannah, GA this private, non-profit university was founded in 1978 and has over 11,000 students enrolled in its eight schools. The school is ranked Number 1 for Interior Design by DesignIntelligence, and there were ten on-campus crimes reported at SCAD.

#28 New Jersey City University

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A public university, NJCU is located in Jersey City, NJ and serves over 9,000 enrolled students in its three colleges, offering more than 65 degree programs.  Considered a liberal arts school, NJCU had eleven crimes reported on-campus.

#29 Lewis University

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A private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university located in Romeoville, Ill., Lewis University brings more than 80 undergraduate and 22 graduate programs to its 6,800 enrolled students.  There were eleven on-campus crimes reported here.

#30 Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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A private research university, WPI is located in Worcester, Mass and is an applied sciences and technical arts school.  Founded in 1865, WPI was one of the United States’ first engineering and technology universities.  Just eleven on-campus crimes were reported here.

#31 University of Maryland-Baltimore

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Founded in 1807, UMB is the original campus of the University System of Maryland has some of the oldest professional schools of dentistry, law, pharmacy, social work and nursing in the nation.  With over 6,000 enrolled students, there were eleven on-campus crimes reported here.

#32 Truman State University

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Located in Kirksville, Missouri Truman State University is a public liberal arts and sciences university with an enrollment of over 6,000 students.  The school offers 48 undergraduate and 9 graduate programs, and there eleven crimes reported on-campus.

#33 Colorado School of Mines

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Located in Golden, CO, CSM a public teaching and research university devoted to engineering and applied sciences.  With an enrollment of 5,600 students, CSM was ranked 75th in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best National Universities” ranking. There were eleven on-campus crimes reported here.

#34 Indiana Wesleyan University

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Headquartered in Marion, Indiana, IWU is a private, evangelical Christian liberal arts university that is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church denomination. The largest private university in Indiana, there are over 15,000 students enrolled here and twelve on-campus crimes were reported at IWU.

#35 Michigan Technological University

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Also referred to as MTU or Michigan Tech, this is a public research university located in Houghton, Michigan.  Rated among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review, there are over 7,000 students enrolled here, and just twelve on-campus crimes were reported.

#36 Worcester State University

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Since 2010, this liberal arts and sciences school in Worcester, Mass has been a part of the state university system.   Now with an enrollment of over 6,000 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs, the school continues to grow and reported just twelve crimes on-campus.

#37 Chicago State University

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Located in Chicago, Ill., this state university was founded in 1867 and has an enrollment of over 7,000 students.  Its five colleges offer over 60 degree programs, and there were twelve crimes on-campus reported here.

#38 Missouri Baptist University

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Located in western St. Louis County in Creve Coeur, Missouri, Missouri Baptist University is a private evangelical university with an enrollment of just over 5,000 students.  Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in eight areas, and there were twelve on-campus crimes reported during the reporting period.

#39 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

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This public university in Steven Point, Wisconsin is part of the University of Wisconsin system and has an enrollment of over 9,000 students.  The school offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees in several areas and reported thirteen on-campus crimes.

#40 Indiana University-Northwest

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IU Northwest is located in Gary, Indiana and is a regional university campus in the Indiana University system.  Established in 1963, the school has over 6,300 enrolled students and reported thirteen crimes on-campus.

#41 College of Staten Island CUNY

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With over 14,000, CSI is a four-year senior college in the City University of New York System, located on Staten Island, NY.   The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences, and there were just fourteen on-campus crimes reported here.

#42 Winona State University

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The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, WSU is a public university located in Winona, Minnesota.  With an enrollment of over 9,000 students, the school offers over 80 programs of study.  There were fourteen on-campus crimes reported at WSU.

#43 University of the Incarnate Word

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A private co-ed Catholic university located in San Antonio, TX, UIW was founded in 1881 and sits on a 154-acre campus.   There are over 9,900 students enrolled in this school that offers baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees.  There were fourteen crimes reported on-campus at UIW.

#44 Suffolk University

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A private, non-sectarian university located in downtown Boston, Mass. Suffolk University has an enrollment of over 10,000 students, and some of its MBA programs are ranked among the top in the country.  Suffolk University had fourteen on-campus crimes during the reporting period.

#45 Dixie State University

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A public university located in St. George, Utah, DSU has over 8.500 enrolled students and offers more than 150 academic programs.   There were just fourteen on-campus crimes reported at DSU.

#46 Northern Kentucky University

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Located in Highland Heights, KY, just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati, NKU is a public, co-ed university that is primarily a liberal arts school.  With an enrollment of over 15,000 students, there were just fifteen on-campus crimes reported at NKU.

#47 The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

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A public university in the New Jersey state system, Stockton University is located in Galloway Township, New Jersey and has an enrollment of over 8,500 students.  Stockton University had fifteen on-campus crime incidents during the reporting period.

#48 Adelphi University

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Located in Garden City, New York, Adelphi University is a private, nonsectarian university that is the oldest higher education institute on Long Island. With over 7,800 enrolled students, the school was ranked #153 among National Universities by U.S. News and World Report.  There were fifteen crimes reported on-campus at Adelphi University.

#49 University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

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Also known as UAFS, this is a public university located in Fort Smith, Arkansas that is part of the University of Arkansas System.  UAFS is the fifth largest university in the state, with over 7,500 enrolled students and had fifteen on-campus crimes reported.

#50 University of New England

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Located in Biddeford, Maine, UNE is an independent, non-profit university that was founded in 1831 and has over 8,000 enrolled students. UNE has the only medical school in the state of Maine and there were just fifteen crimes reported on campus here.

 

 

US Virgin Islands (USVI) Public Records

Officially the Virgin Islands of the United States, the USVI are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are classified as an organized, unincorporated U.S. territory.  The islands are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles of the Virgin Islands archipelago, and the USVI consists of the main islands of Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, and Saint John.  Tourism and rum manufacturing are the primary economic activities here, and the territory has a population of approximately 106,00 residents.  While U.S. citizens, those who reside here cannot vote in U.S. elections as the USVI is not a state.  The USVI does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.

US Virgin Islands (USVI)  Public Records Laws

Laws covering the sharing of public records in the U.S. Virgin Islands are covered under Title 3 of the Virgin Island Code (V.I.C.)  § 881.  The law states that “every citizen of the territory” has a right to examine and copy all public records.  The purpose of the request does not need to be disclosed, and there are no limitations placed on the use of the records once obtained.

Public records covered under the Code include those of all public agencies in the territory, including the executive and legislative branches.  The courts are not covered by this Code.  Records that are not included, or are exempt, are:

  • Records made confidential by courts or statute
  • Student records
  • Medical records
  • Trade secrets
  • Attorney work product
  • Investigatory reports
  • Property appraisals
  • Elderly and disabled adult abuse records
  • Security-related records


US Virgin Islands (USVI)  Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

Background checks are administered by the USVI Police Department Records Bureau.  A police record check can be requested by filling out the proper form.  This is a name-based search and does not require the signed consent of the person being searched.


US Virgin Islands (USVI)  Jail and Inmate Records

The USVI Police Department runs corrections in the territory, and there are two Detention Facilities – one St. Thomas that is classified as medium security and one on St. Croix.  There is not a way to do an online search for offenders in the system, but you can call (340) 778-2211 for information.


US Virgin Islands (USVI) Court Records

There are two separate court websites in the USVI, one for the District Court and another for the Superior Court.  Most individuals will be interested in superior court cases as these are the civil, criminal, family, probate, small claims, and traffic cases.  There are not really any online court records searches available, but you can turn in a Request for Records Search with the Acting Clerk of the Court for any desired court records.


US Virgin Islands (USVI)  Vital Records

Obtaining vital records in the U.S. Virgin Islands is going to depend on the type of record that you need and the particular island where the event took place.  In all instances, you must prove eligibility to obtain the record, such as being a party listed on the certificate, a parent or legal guardian, or other legal representative.

St. Thomas and St. John

  • Birth Certificates – Birth certificates are available from July 1906 to present.  You can send your completed application and payment to: Department of Health, Vital Statistics, Knud Hansen Complex, St. Thomas, VI  00802.
  • Death Certificates – Death certificates are available from January 1906 to present.  You can send your completed application and payment to: Department of Health, Vital Statistics in St. Thomas.
  • Marriage Certificates – Marriage certificates are available for a $2 fee (money order) from the courts.  There is no available form for this.  You can send your request to:  Clerk of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, Family Division, P.O. Box 70, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI 00801.
  • Divorce Certificates – Divorce records are available for a $5 fee (money order) from the courts.  There is no available form for this.  You can send your request to:  Clerk of the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands.

St. Croix

  • Birth Certificates – Birth certificates are available from 1840 to present.  You can send your completed application and payment to: Department of Health, Vital Statistics, Charles Harwood Memorial Hospital, St. Croix, VI 00820.
  • Death Certificates – Death certificates are available from 1840 to present.  You can send your completed application and payment to: Department of Health, Vital Statistics in St. Croix.
  • Marriage Certificates – Marriage certificates are available for a $2 fee (money order) from the courts.  There is no available form for this.  You can send your request to:  Chief Deputy Clerk, Family Division, Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands, P.O. Box 929, Christiansted, St. Croix, VI  00820.
  • Divorce Certificates – Divorce records are available for a $5 fee (money order) from the courts.  There is no available form for this.  You can send your request to:  Chief Deputy Clerk, Family Division, Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix.

Puerto Rico Public Records

Located in the northeastern Caribbean, Puerto Rico is a United States territory that consists of the main island and several smaller islands.  Officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, this tropical locale is populated by 3.6 million people and is a popular tourist destination.  First claimed by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish in 1493, the island was ceded to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War.  Puerto Rico is classified as an unincorporated U.S. territory under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950.  The territory has a local constitution and its residents are U.S. citizens, but cannot vote in major U.S. elections.  Puerto Rico does make provisions for sharing its records with the public.

Puerto Rico Public Records Laws

 

The main public records act in Puerto Rico is called the Public Documents Administration Act, first passed in 1955 and amended in 2000, which is covered in Laws of Puerto Rico Annotated Title 3 Chapter 41 § 1001.   There are other provisions under Title 3 that also deal with the preservation and supply of public records.  There is also a short statement in Title 32 of the code that states that “every citizen” has a right to take a copy of public records.

Records subject to the Act are any public documents produced in the Commonwealth, and this applies to the executive, legislative and judicial branches.  There is no information on exemptions or exclusions with regards to public documents in this territory.

Puerto Rico Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

 

Background checks in Puerto Rico are administered by the Puerto Rico Police Department.  The criminal records checks are name-based checks, and Puerto Rico is now doing these online.   You do need to have an ID issued by the territory, such as a driver’s license, in order to use the system.  In the alternative, you can order a background check in person at the Puerto Rico Police Department, Ave F.D. Roosevelt 601, Cuartel General, San Juan, PR 00936-8166.

Puerto Rico Jail and Inmate Records

 

To learn about the correctional facilities in Puerto Rico, find information about inmates in the system, or get services for victims, visit the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections website.  There is no online search page to locate a specific offender in the system.  For assistance, you can call the Office of Control and Management of the correctional population at (787) 273-6464.

Puerto Rico Court Records

 

Any information on courts in the territory of Puerto Rico can be found on its administrator of the courts website.  The only online search that can be done is to the court calendar.   Specific case files and records requests will need to be made with the clerk of the court in the courthouse where the case was heard.

Puerto Rico Vital Records

Vital records, such as birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates, in Puerto Rico are administered by the Department of Health, Demographic Registry.  Birth, death, and marriage certificates are available from June 22, 1931 to present.  Divorce certificates are available from 1941 to present.  You must submit a complete application and show that you are an “interested party” in order to receive a certificate.  This means that you are either listed on the certificate or are an immediate family member, legal guardian, or legal representative.  There are several ways to obtain these documents:

  • In Person:  You can order in person at the Department of Health, Demographic Registry, 141 Barbosa Avenue, Lincoln Building, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00925.
  • By Mail:  Simply download and complete the proper form and return it with copies of required documentation to:  Department of Health, Demographic Registry, P.O. Box 11854, Fernandez Juncos Station, San Juan, PR 00910.
  • Online:  Place your order and payment through VitalCheck.com.

You may also be able to get some divorce records in Puerto Rico from the local courthouse where the original divorce was granted.

Pennsylvania Public Records

Pennsylvania Public Records Laws

Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law (RTKL) grants individuals the statutory right to inspect and copy the public records of Pennsylvania. Individuals requesting access to Pennsylvania public records do not need to divulge their reasons for requesting the information, as the request cannot be denied based on these grounds.

Public records from all commonwealth, legislative, local and judicial agencies can be requested, as well as records from state boards, authorities, schools and offices. Documents considered to be public records consist of any map, book, tape, photograph, sound recording, film or electronic media created, retained or received in connection with a business activity or transaction of a state agency.

A request for public record may be denied, however, if an exemption prohibits the public disclosure of the information held within. For instance, any record that would result in an agency losing state or federal funds cannot be delivered upon request, as well as any information that would reasonably result in the risk of physical harm.

For more information regarding Pennsylvania’s public records law, examine Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law in its entirety.

Pennsylvania Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

The Pennsylvania State Police oversee and process requests for criminal history checks. The Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH) tool, a database maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police, is searchable by registered and non-registered users. There is a non-refundable fee associated with every search, regardless of the outcome of the search, even if no record is found. Customers of the website will be charged for misspellings, user errors or duplicate submissions.

If a record is found, it will include all past convictions, all charges that are less than three years from the date of arrest and all charges with a current pending warrant issued. The database can be found on The Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History tool webpage of the Pennsylvania State Police website.

The Pennsylvania State Police are also responsible for overseeing and delivering all state issued background checks. More information regarding requesting a background check and criminal history record can be found on the Pennsylvania State Police website.

Pennsylvania Jail and Inmate Records

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections collects jail and inmate records and makes them available to the public through a searchable online database. This database contains information regarding inmates currently under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The database can be searched by last name, first name, sex, inmate number, location, date of birth and race. If a record is found, it will state the inmate’s race, date of birth, housing location, height, citizenship and complexion. The database can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections website.

More information regarding Pennsylvania’s jail and inmate records can be found within Pennsylvania’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.

Pennsylvania Court Records

Pennsylvania Court Records are overseen and distributed by the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania. Individual court case information can be searched for online with no fee. These searches contain information regarding civil cases, criminal cases, traffic cases, non-traffic cases and landlord-tenant cases. In order to search for Pennsylvania court records, visit the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s web portal.

More information regarding Pennsylvania courts can be found on the District Court Administrators page of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s website.

Pennsylvania Vital Records

The Pennsylvania Department of Health maintains and distributes Pennsylvania Vital Records. These records include birth and death records dating back to 1906. Birth certificates can be requested by the person named on the certificate, as long as they are 18 years of age or older, or by a close family member or legal guardian. Death certificates may be requested by a legal representative of the decedent’s estate, immediate family members and those with Power of Attorney.

More information regarding how to request a Pennsylvania Vital Records can be found on the certificates page of the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

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Michigan Public Records

Michigan Public Records Laws

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) grants anyone the statutory right to inspect and copy public records unless the requester is incarcerated in a local or state correctional facility. The governmental bodies that are included under the Freedom of Information act include any Michigan agency, division, department, or commission in the executive and legislative branches of the state government. Additionally, the records of all bodies created or funded by primarily by the state or local authorities can be accessed as well.

Public records are defined rather narrowly in Michigan, consisting of any writing that has been used, owned, retained or possessed by a public body during the performance of an official function. This includes computerized data, but it does not include software.

There are also multiple exemptions that can be levied by the government officer who controls the access to public records in order to deny a request. Although these exemptions vary widely, they include not disclosing any medical, psychological or counseling information that would reveal a person’s identity, as well as not giving out the academic records of anyone that is delinquent on student loan payments.

For more information regarding Michigan’s public records law, examine Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act in its entirety.

Michigan Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

The Michigan State Police are responsible for storing and providing access to criminal history checks in the state of Michigan. They utilize The Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), which allows for searches of public criminal history by name or by fingerprint. All felonies and serious misdemeanors are required to be reported to the state, and they are therefore searchable within the database.

The Internet Criminal History Access Tool does not supply information about federal records, juvenile records, tribal records, traffic records or criminal history from other states. In addition, a fee for each search will be charged upon request.

The Michigan State Police, Criminal Justice Information Center is responsible for overseeing state issued background checks. More information regarding criminal history records searches, name-based background checks and fingerprint-based background checks can be found on the Michigan State Police website.

Michigan Jail and Inmate Records

The Michigan Department of Corrections and the Michigan Sheriff’s office in each county manage the Michigan inmate and jail records. An online searchable database has been provided by the Department of Corrections, and it contains information regarding an inmate such as sex, name, race, age, identifying marks, scars, and DOC number. A name-based search will include release date, parole date and location of the inmate as well. The searchable database for Michigan inmates can be found on the Michigan Free Public Records Directory website.

More information regarding Michigan’s jail and inmate records can be found within Michigan’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.

Michigan Court Records

The distribution and processing of requests for Michigan Court Records are responsibilities of the Michigan Courts. A searchable online database has been provided by the Michigan Courts, and it allows individuals to search for case records by either party name, docket number or attorney name. The online database can be found on the Michigan Courts Case Search webpage.

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office can be contacted for further clarification regarding accessing court records or other court focused concerns.

Michigan Vital Records

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for maintaining, overseeing and issuing Michigan Vital Health Records. These records include birth, death, marriage and divorce records, with records dating back to 1867.

Records can be ordered online using a credit or debit card. Applications may also be sent by mail as long as they are accompanied by a payment. Information regarding the procurement of Michigan Vital Records can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

Florida Public Records

Florida Public Records Laws

Florida’s Public Records Act grants individuals the statutory right to access and inspect many of the state’s public records. The information included within this ruling consists of records produced by the state, municipal or county level government units. Also, any information regarding private or third-party institutions acting on behalf of these government units are considered to be under the scope of public record. These records are available for personal inspection or copying by any individual upon request.

Types of documents able to be accessed include maps, tapes, documents, sound recordings, video recordings and photographs. In addition, all materials made or received by an agency that pertain to their official business are accessible by the public.

Although the categorization of accessible information is broad in Florida, there are literally hundreds of specific exemptions that agencies can levy in order to deny requests for public records, all of which can be found in chapter 119 of Florida’s state statute.

For more information regarding Florida’s public records law, examine chapter 119 of the Florida State Statutes in its entirety.

Florida Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains multiple criminal history information databases, and they process requests made by the public to access these histories. A fee has been implemented for accessing criminal history record checks, and it must be paid each time a record check is requested whether it is approved or denied.

The information held within the databases has been made available by Florida’s central repository for criminal history information. Requests for criminal history records and arrest records can be made through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website. The ability status for an inmate to be bailed is also present, as well as their account balances if any apply.

State issued background checks are also the responsibility of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Florida Jail and Inmate Records

Florida jail and inmate records are made available through the Florida Department of State. These records are available by county search as well as inmate name. The first and last name of the inmate is accessible, as well as the type of violation they have been charged with and where they were arrested. In most cases, the name of the arresting officer is also available.

More information regarding Florida’s jail and inmate records can be found within Florida’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.

Florida Court Records

Florida State Court Records are made available upon request through the court or county in which a case took place. Requests for copies of court records can be made in person, by mail or through email. Fees are often associated with such requests and a waiting period of at least 5 days should be allowed for delivery.

The Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator can be contacted for further clarification about requesting and accessing Florida Court Records.

Florida Vital Records

The Florida Department of Health maintains and distributes the Florida Vital Records upon request. Vital statistics consist of birth, death, fetal death, marriage and divorce records. These vital records may be needed for gaining passports, school entrance or employment.

For birth records, Florida has computer access to instances dating from 1917 to present. Although earlier instances of divorce and marriage may be attainable, the law providing for the centralization of these records was put in place in 1927, so attempting to procure records dated prior might prove sporadically successful.

Information regarding Florida vital records and certificates can be requested through the Florida Department of Health website. Tabs indicating birth, death, divorce or marriage records are present on the left hand side of the webpage.

New York Public Records

New York Public Records Laws

New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) grants individuals the statutory right to inspect and copy New York’s public records. There are no limitations in place as to who can request access to this information.

The government bodies included within the bounds of the Freedom of Information Law include any state or municipal board, bureau, division, commission, committee or authority. The term public record is defined as any information that has been held, filed, produced or created by any agency mentioned above. Each agency is required to maintain records on the voting practices, names, titles and salaries of their employees.

While the definition of public record is quite broad, there are multiple exemptions which could hinder one’s ability to gain access to a source of information. For instance, any records that would interfere with bid or contract awards cannot be disclosed, as well as any information that would potentially compromise an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

In order to more fully understand New York’s public records law, examine New York’s Freedom of Information Law in its entirety.

New York Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

New York Criminal Records are maintained and distributed by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Individuals can request to see their own criminal record, and they will then either be delivered with their record or a response of “no record” indicating that they do not have a criminal history record in the state of New York.

While individuals cannot ask for another person’s criminal history records, there are certain allowances for employment and licensing purposes. If a criminal history record is requested for purposes of employment or licensing, the request will be granted if there is a state law, local law or federal law of a New York State town, village, city or county that authorizes a fingerprint-based criminal history search for these instances.

The New York State Division of State Police oversees the maintenance and distribution of New York arrest records. These records are releasable to individuals involved in the arrest or to a person with a legitimate interest as stated by the Public Officers Law.

The New York Criminal State Division of Criminal Justice Services is responsible for overseeing and distributing state issued background checks.

New York Jail and Inmate Records

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is responsible for maintaining and distributing New York jail and inmate records. Individuals seeking record information regarding inmates can utilize the name-based search tool available on the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website. Searches can be done according to last name, first name, birth year, or department identification number.  A search result for an inmate will supply the sex, race, custody statistics, holding location and release facility of the person in question. It will also show their minimum and maximum sentences, as well as the earliest possible release date. Parole information may or may not be available.

More information regarding New York’s jail and inmate records can be found within New York’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.

New York Court Records

State and county level court records are held and overseen by the New York State Unified Court System. Electronic access to a wide array of court records, such as judicial decisions, case files, judicial decisions and other case information, is available on the New York State Unified Court System website.

More information regarding New York’s court records can be found on the website for the New York Office of Court Administration.

New York Vital Records

New York Vital Records are overseen by the New York State Department of Health. They consist of birth, death, marriage, divorce, fetal death and still birth certificates. Birth and death certificates are available from 1881, marriage licenses are available from 1880 and dissolution of marriage certificates are available from 1963.

Requests for New York Vital Records can be made in person, online or by mail, and more information regarding how to request vital records is available on the New York State Department of Health website.

New Jersey Public Records

New Jersey Public Records Laws

As written in New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA), only New Jersey citizens can access New Jersey’s public records. Convicts, however, cannot request any information regarding the personal information of a victim or family member of a victim to their offense.

The government bodies included in New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act include any principal department of the executive branch of state government, as well as any division, board, office, commission or bureau of the state. Also, any independent state agency, authority or instrumentality is included. New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act does not, however, cover the records of New Jersey courts.

A New Jersey custodian of records, the individual who is responsible for processing public records requests, can deny a request if it is in violation of an exemption. Many exemptions exist, including not divulging trade secrets or any information regarding sexual harassment complaints or grievances.

For more information regarding the public records law of New Jersey, examine New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act in its entirety.

New Jersey Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

New Jersey criminal records are maintained and distributed by the State Bureau of Identification (SBI), which is overseen by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). If an individual wishes to request their own personal criminal record, then they must be fingerprinted at a Live Scan location that has been approved by the state and deliver a form and fee.

The criminal records of New Jersey are restricted, and are therefore not made available to the public. Requests of criminal records for third parties can only be placed by authorized government and  state agencies, as well as authorized law enforcement units and employers.

The New Jersey State Bureau of Identification is responsible for overseeing and maintaining state issued background checks, and they operate under the New Jersey State Police.

New Jersey Jail and Inmate Records

Inmate and Incarceration records in New Jersey are handled by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. An inmate can be looked up online using the Department of Corrections Offender Search system. This database is maintained by the information provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections and law enforcement.

The Offender Search database can supply inmate information regarding name, date of birth, race, gender and type of offense. It will also indicate which facility is currently holding the inmate, their maximum release date, parole eligibility and mandatory sentence terms.

More information regarding New Jersey’s jail and inmate records can be found within New Jersey’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.

New Jersey Court Records

The New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts maintains court records, calendars, opinions, schedules, attorney regulations and trial court decisions. Accessing New Jersey court records can be achieved by filing a request with the Office of the Superior Court. Civil, family, criminal and municipal court records are all available for public review.

More information regarding obtaining or requesting court records can be found on the New Jersey Administrative Office of Courts website.

New Jersey Vital Records

New Jersey Vital Records are overseen by the State of New Jersey Department of Health. Birth, death and marriage records are available from 1915 to present, while domestic partnership and civil union records date back to 2004 and 2007 respectively. Certificate of birth resulting in stillborn records are available starting in 1969.

Vital records may be requested through the local vital records office in the municipality in which the event occurred. The State of New Jersey Department of Health has provided an online locating device to aid in finding local registrars. This tool is available on the Department of Health’s Local Vital Records Offices webpage.

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