Today, we are announcing the launch of our easy-to-use, low-cost online background check platform.
In today’s digital age, we’re connecting with more strangers than ever before — yet we increasingly know less and less about who we’re meeting. From online dating to online marketplaces, these interactions are not always positive — with nearly one in three women reporting being sexually assaulted by an online date.
Garbo asks — what if we could proactively prevent some of the harm against ourselves and our communities?
We believe that with access to (the right) information, we can.
While we know that one in three women, one in two trans individuals, and one in seventeen men will experience gender-based violence at some point in their lives, we have to stop and ask… Who are the people causing this harm?
Studies show that up to 71% of rapists are serial offenders. Some studies have shown that, over a lifetime, a sex offender can have over 380 victims. Out of every 1,000 suspected rape perpetrators referred to prosecutors, 370 have at least one prior felony conviction, including 10% who have 5 or more.
78% of offenders whose partners sought an order of protection (also known as a restraining order) had criminal histories, with an average of 13 prior charges.
Another study finds that among men who had been arrested for domestic violence at least once, 71% were arrested again over the next nine years, many of them more than once; 62% of the new arrests were for non-domestic crimes.
A felony domestic violence conviction has shown to be one of the single greatest predictors of future violence.
What if we could know about someone’s past history of violent and harmful behavior — ideally before we ever met them in person?
Previously, you’d have to search various government databases, which can cost up to $95 and require a lot of personal information. Or, you can use sketchy Stalking-as-a-Service sites (that’s what we call traditional online background checks) which often falsely advertise the volume, accuracy, and depth of criminal records available on their platforms, while providing access to incredibly invasive information like home address and phone number history.
There was no easy, affordable national database to see if someone had a history of violent, harmful behavior.
Since the beginning, Garbo has focused on building a new kind of online background check: a background check that makes reports of violent and harmful offenses easily accessible, so people can make more informed personal safety decisions in the hopes of preventing future harm against themselves and their communities.
At Garbo, our initial focus is on providing access to arrests, convictions, and sex offender registry records.
However, since this data originates from the criminal justice system, we recognize our responsibility to shed light on the disproportionate impact this system has on people of color and other groups that face marginalization.
To reduce the negative impact on marginalized and vulnerable communities, Garbo has developed an offense reporting policy featuring lookback periods that excludes certain non-violent, non-harmful offenses from our platform.
We also believe in balancing privacy and protection of both the user searching and of the user being searched. Unlike traditional online background checks, we limit access to certain personal identifying information, like home address, full birthdays, and more.
Garbo offers a more efficient, accurate, and secure way for people to see if someone has a history of harmful behavior.
Background checks should be viewed as a tool in the safety tool belt — not a complete solution to safety. Most violent individuals never interact with the criminal justice system and Garbo does not have access to all records across the United States due to jurisdictional challenges. We continue to add new data sources every week and explore the different ways harm and violence are reported.
By empowering individuals with the most important, relevant information to help them make more informed personal safety decisions, we aim to help proactively prevent harm in today’s digital age.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
if you need assistance with account creation or have questions about the platform specifically, please contact email@example.com
We work with online platforms to help proactively protect their communities through our innovative background check system. Get in touch to learn more about how we can integrate Garbo or help you proactively screen users at sacale.