Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Police Blotter

Back in the day, before there was instantaneous internet access to everyone’s personal data, before we had internet at all, our screening criteria included checking the newspaper’s police blotter.

We did have an applicant release form, which we brought to the applicant's local police department.  They would write in any criminal records they had.  But just as important was the blotter, because there were some quality-of-life issues that didn’t always show up on those forms.  Additionally, there was personal information in the blotter we could corroborate with the application we were considering, and being a matter of public record, it was legal for us to include it in our screening.  

In that pre-electronic age, we would literally cut each day’s blotter out of the newspaper and paste it in a scrapbook by date. We then made index cards with each person’s name mentioned, referencing the date(s) they made the blotter.  We alphabetized the index cards and when a person applied for one of our apartments, we’d look for his name on our index cards.  You could learn a lot about people from their blotter entries: repeated public drunkenness, fighting, domestic disputes, drug connections, not all of which resulted in an official record with the police department.

It seems like a lot of work today, but then it was just another part of our day and screening process, and saved us a lot of mis-steps in renting. 

No comments:

Post a Comment