What a surveillance investigation entails
Private investigators play an important role in helping people. While some of the duties involve helping to find missing people, they also do research for legal, financial and criminal investigations. Not only that, but a private investigator has the option of working for private citizens, attorneys, and businesses.
The surveillance investigation will begin with the PI doing some background research. This includes locating both public and private records that pertain to the case. This includes the various licenses and certifications that a person holds, as well as bankruptcy’s, property ownership, and familial affiliations, just to name a few. What is looked for and found depends on the type of investigation being done and why someone is being looked into. This information offers a clearer picture of the individual or situation being investigated.
Then next step that a surveillance investigator will take is to interview key people that are crucial to the case. This includes witnesses, victims, and suspects as a way to reconstruct a crime or event, obtain evidence, connect facts that seem disconnected, look for leads, identify facts and find out what actually happened. Additionally, interviewing is important to many investigations because it offers a verbal confirmation of an event.
The most comprehensive part, and that which is most glamorized, is that of the actual surveillance. When the investigator goes out and watching a person without him or her knowing. This is done in order to see where the subject goes and what he or she is doing. The findings are then reported back to the client.
There are several types of surveillance that a PI can use, depending on the case and the situation. The first decision is mechanical or human and the second is determining whether the surveillance is overt or covert. You and your PI may also have to decide whether it is better to set up stationary surveillance so that the person is only watched in one place or make it mobile and follow the subject wherever he or she goes.
Mechanical surveillance is the term used when technological devices, such as cameras, are used. This is a good idea because equipment does not get tired, hungry, or bored. Additionally, equipment can be used in multiple locations at the same time and the can be accessed simultaneously. On the other hand, many investigators use human surveillance. This is when a person is followed and watched by the PI or one of his associates.
Overt surveillance is the definition given to security that is visible. Two examples include security agents at the mall and security cameras in casinos. When overt surveillance is used, people know the equipment is there to make sure no one is stealing or cheating. On the other hand, covert surveillance is surveillance that is undetectable. It is most often used by undercover detectives and may involve following a subject or using a piece of equipment, like a GPS tracking device without anyone’s knowledge. Legality may come into question with some of these forms of surveillance, but a good PI knows the laws.