Are you new to your private investigator career? Here are some expert surveillance techniques every private investigator should learn in order to improve their surveillance abilities.
There are over 60,000 people who identify as private investigators in the United States. This number has risen steadily over the last decade.
The growth of the profession comes as no surprise given the excellent benefits one experiences in this line of work.
Private investigators get to work independently. They get to help people. They get to jump headfirst into a job every day that’s filled with excitement.
If you’re getting started in your career as a private investigator, you may be ready to get out into the field. Before doing that though, you’ll want to know some basic guidelines.
To help with that, our team at El Dorado Insurance Agency has put together this brief guide. Below, you’ll find 10 expert surveillance techniques you can lean on to make your job easier, more discreet and a lot safer!
At the base of all surveillance techniques is a healthy dose of discretion. At the end of the day, no matter how advanced your methods are on collecting information or spying on others, if you’re doing things in an obvious fashion you’re not likely to uncover the evidence you’re looking for. You’re also very likely to have a conflict-filled day at work.
So, as a private investigator, be sure that you wear clothes that blend in with the general population. Drive a discreet car. Do everything you can to not draw unnecessary attention.
Embody Your Role
If you’re embodying a character to get closer to your subject (ex: a neighborhood dog walker) make sure you have a backstory in case you’re drawn in deeper than you had planned on.
For example, if you’re at the park as a dog walker and your subject approaches you and asks about what you do, make sure you know enough about your line of work to carry on a conversation. It’s important that you can always blend in if the heat gets turned up.
Be an Area Exert
You never want to be in a position where you’re lost in the area you’re operating in. Consequently, one of the key surveillance techniques you can have in your back pocket as a private investigator is quickly familiarizing yourself with local roads and landmarks.
Knowing your way around an area means being able to get out of a tricky situation fast. It also means being able to tail subjects without getting lost.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Subject
In order to track somebody, you have to know them. You should know what their habits are, what their schedule looks like, their tendencies and more.
To acquire this information, first, start with a background check. This will also help you know whether or not the subject is violent. Then, talk to sources to compile as much additional information possible.
An informed investigation often leads to a successful one.
Consider Teaming Up
Sometimes, no matter how discreet you appear, a man or woman hovering around an area for too long will draw suspicion. One of the surveillance techniques many use to help dilute this suspicion is by working with a partner on certain jobs, typically one of the opposite sex.
This can deepen your cover as you’ll appear to be a couple which makes loitering more palatable to onlookers.
Invest in Quality Recording Equipment
No matter how good your surveillance techniques are if you’re not capturing high-quality evidence you’re not going to be successful. Therefore, if you want to take your career as an investigator seriously, make sure you have good equipment.
A good place to start is with a solid DSLR camera with a telephoto lens.
Knowledge is power in any investigation. Because of that, surveillance techniques private investigators rely on often include going through court and public records to dig up more intel on their subject.
To access court records, look up information here. For public records, you can use services like Westlaw and LexisNexis.
Get Social Media Savvy
In today’s day in age, you can learn a tremendous amount about people by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Private investigators will often start their surveillance by creating a social media account and following their subject through those mediums.
You should consider doing the same.
Get Your Hands Dirty
In many states, when people put their garbage out it’s no longer considered their property. If you’re operating in a state that feels that way, you can dig up a lot of knowledge on a person by going through their trash.
Be sure to do this late at night and quietly. You will almost certainly draw confrontation from your subject or their neighbors during the day.
Always Operate Within the Confides of The Law
Nothing undermines a good investigation quite like running into legal trouble. That’s why the best surveillance techniques always run parallel to local rules and regulations.
Never put yourself in a situation where you could find yourself losing your practice, getting jailed or getting injured by playing fast and loose with statutes.
Wrapping Up Surveillance Techniques For Private Investigators
Your success as a private investigator is directly affected by the quality of your surveillance techniques. To that end, we recommend you take into deep consideration the tips listed above.
Always operate in a fashion that’s discreet, become a local area expert, embody your role and get creative in the ways you dig up information so long as they’re legal.
If you do those things, you’ll find yourself well ahead of the private investigator curve!
Private investigators make a living out of helping people find the truth. But while you’re helping others, who is helping you?
Our team at El Dorado Insurance Agency specialize in insuring private investigators in ways that keep their business and personal futures secured. Let us ensure your well-being the way you ensure the well-being of others.