We were asked recently to “look into” suppressing names from Mecklenburg County’s online property owner system. The request originated from the criminal justice ranks, the specific concern being that criminals might use the system to get address info for police, prosecutors, and judges, but not for sending thank you notes.
Just doing a survey (http://checkbox.co.mecklenburg.nc.us/NameSearchSuppression.survey) has kicked up some dust locally, so I’m interested in feedback from jurisdictions that may have dealt with this issue.
My personal opinion is name suppression is not an effective public safety tactic. It’s like hacking your arm off because a mosquito has bitten it. You are going to be missing a limb, and still be bitten.
A quick story. A local U.S. Attorney’s addressed Mecklenburg’s County Commission on name suppression a couple of years ago. I happened to have my laptop, so out of curiousity, I…
– Googled his name,
– found where he got his law and undergrad degrees,
– went to alumi records,
– and not only got his current address, but phone number too.
Less than a half-dozen clicks.