FBI keeps evacuees safe in the hands of volunteers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

FBI keeps evacuees safe in the hands of volunteers

There is no shortage of people who want to take in victims of Hurricane Katrina, but with that gesture comes a very real concern over who's sleeping in the den.

The FBI is allowing the public to use its National Criminal Database for the next two months because of hurricane Katrina.

That's because so many are asking for personal background checks, as evacuees move in with families across the America.

"Everybody was affected by this -- not only good people -- everybody was affected," said hurricane Katrina evacuee Kawana Miller.

Everyday, more Mid-Southerners are opening up their homes to those left homeless by hurricane Katrina.

"But there's a new problem emerging amongst all those law-abiding evacuees there are also criminals -- since the storm spared no one."

"They lost probably everything -- just like we lost everything," said Miller.

Anne Valencia allowed a family to move into her home without doing a background check. She believes screening sends the wrong message.

"If you have to worry about that -- in all sincerity -- I would say that it might not work because you have to have a totally open heart to accept someone in your home as your own family," Valencia said.

The FBI database includes information on everything from sex offenders to foreign fugitives and deported felons.

Many worry the public perception to the FBI opening its database could have a chilling effect.

Some homeowners hope the new tool doesn't become another delay for so many evacuees who need an immediate place to live.

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