How Can Private Investigators Guarantee a Successful Surveillance?
While most of the world spends their life trying to be noticed, private investigators need to navigate the world incognito for them to be successful in their career.
You can’t stand out in the crowd and still perform effective surveillance on a target. In order to do your job, you need to be able to hide in plain sight and keep a low profile while still being able to collect all the information you’re after.
Check out these tips to help you be triumphant in your surveillance projects as a private investigator.
Be Prepared and Do Your Homework
When conducting surveillance you’ll find it much easier if you’re prepared and have done your homework.
Background Check and Online Research
You can learn a lot about a person from conducting some research before heading out to do surveillance.
A background check can tell you about their finances, habits, associates and more but one of the best private investigators research resources these days for information could be their social media profiles.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can all give you valuable tips. It’s important to focus on the things that may seem inconsequential to others.
The reflection in mirrored sunglasses or windows from selfies on Facebook or Instagram could give you a location or area to find an individual you’re trying to locate.
Many social media sites let people check in to locations when visiting and many people can be found through this feature.
Creeping their friends’ pages or reading their blog could lead to knowledge that can help you gather the facts you need. You can gain huge insight into a subject through online investigations if you know where and what to look at.
Private Investigators Surveillance Kit
You could be following someone or sitting in your car waiting for them to make an appearance for hours. You don’t want to be distracted because you don’t have the things you need or you’re dreaming about sinking your teeth into a cheeseburger.
Water and Snacks
When you put in long hours you need fuel to keep your body and mind alert. You don’t want to doze off while waiting through the night for a subject to emerge from a building.
Fruit, bite-size snacks, and sandwiches are good to have on hand. Make sure you have lots of water and liquids to keep you hydrated while waiting. This is especially true in hot weather if sitting in the car for hours.
Water is also good to have aside from drinking it. Whether it’s a car overheating, needing to clean your hands or washing off your camera lens it’s a good idea to have a bottle of water for any situation that arises.
Cameras, Phones, Chargers, and Batteries
You’ll want to have some way of taking the photographs. It’ll depend on what situation you’re in whether you’ll want the detail and zoom offered by a digital camera or the inconspicuous use of a camera phone.
Either way, make sure you have an extra battery and memory card so you have lots of power and space for anything you want to document.
Many devices have an adapter that lets you charge it through your car. Do this while you’re driving or for short periods of time so that you don’t inadvertently drain the battery of the car.
A dead battery makes for a difficult and unsuccessful surveillance effort.
Make sure if you have laptops, tablets, drone surveillance equipment and other resources that you have extra batteries, cords and other attachments needed.
We’re not saying you have to don a fake mustache or Clark Kent glasses but you’re going to need outfits that help you stay anonymous and if you’re following someone for a few days, you can’t draw attention to yourself by looking the same.
Eventually, they’ll notice the same outfit, even if they don’t recognize the face. Baseball hats, different glasses, scarves, jackets and other things can help you blend in without looking like you’re heading to a Halloween party.
There are great wigs, hairpieces and other accessories that look very natural. Hair extensions or just changing the style can help as well.
First Aid and Car Emergency Kits
This may seem like a no-brainer but many people don’t have them. It’s particularly helpful when doing surveillance because they’re full of several help items if you need to improvise.
Scissors, tape, bandages and other things in your first aid kit may come in handy and a flashlight etc. is always important if out overnight or possibly needing to explore dark spaces for information.
If you’re looking for an opening to start a dialogue with someone you’re investigating it always helps to have something to offer. A dead battery has started many a conversation when you have jumper cables to offer a boost.
An umbrella in the rain when they’re carrying things to the front door, etc. It’s always good to be prepared.
They can also give you the peace of mind that you’re prepared for the long haul if you’re setting up surveillance for a long period of time.
Have a gas can stored in the trunk in case you find yourself unable to get away to fill your tank without losing your subject.
You may also want to consider portable bathroom options and sanitation like bath wipes, alcohol hand wash, etc. and create an ultimate survival kit geared to your needs.
Blend In and Travel in Pairs
Don’t wear anything extravagant unless you’re following them to the annual ball or something. You want to blend in with the crowd and not draw attention to you by driving a flashy car, wearing inappropriate clothes for the venue or seeming like a weird loner staring at them from afar.
It’s easier to blend in if you’re not working alone. Two people sitting talking in a car is much less conspicuous than a dude with a camera watching a building for hours.
It also helps if you’ll be tailing them through town to have two vehicles. Both should blend in and that way you’re not as likely to get noticed.
Attitude is Everything
Read the environment and adjust your attitude accordingly. And if you’re sitting in your car for hours it doesn’t have to be excruciating. As long as you’re prepared and have the right attitude you can make the most of your time.
Private investigators spend a lot of time sitting, watching and waiting but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Bring music, podcasts, etc. to listen to, snacks you enjoy and all the tools you need and you can turn a simple surveillance into a successful and awesome endeavor.
For tips on how to expand your private investigator business check out the rest of our blog.