Even if we do not realize it, we are constantly under surveillance. Every time you go to the bank, or use an ATM, your movements are recorded. There are even some of us paying businesses to monitor them at any time – just ask your home security company. However, a private investigator can accomplish much more than your home security company.
Electronic monitoring is the method of choice for private investigations and may include:
- Digital video equipment
- Phone surveillance
- Home or Individual Surveillance
- Internet usage monitoring
- Computer monitoring
However, none of these methods is legal in itself. It is precisely for this reason that private detectives
must be trained on the different elements of surveillance laws.
What does a private detective do exactly?
What a private detective does depends on the work he accepts. Some clients may request that the detective remain anonymous, while others prefer that he remains as invisible as possible. When it comes to surveillance, your private investigator:
- Gather the material he will need to carry out his investigation: cameras, sound and digital recording devices, etc. For investigations in which the detective must remain anonymous, he must also gather evidence to support his story.
- Searches the client and the person / place that will be monitored. The detective will need time to gather information about his client as well as the relationship between the client and the person being monitored. A background check will probably be necessary for both parties. When monitoring a location, data collection may include plans as well as security camera recordings.
- Document procedures in accordance with surveillance laws. An illegal investigation may be dismissed by a court. The detective must document everything he says, what he does and what he hears. Such evidence, which may include audio and/or video recordings, photographs, and interviews with witnesses, must all be identified with specific dates and times.
- Prepare his camouflage to maintain his anonymity. Most private detectives conducting on-site surveillance use a car or van. However, people in a neighborhood often notice cars. It is therefore important for the private investigator to become familiar with the ward BEFORE starting surveillance to avoid being spotted by members of the community. Private detectives who follow an individual will often hide their appearance to remain anonymous and not be recognized.
Once he is ready, the detective can undertake surveillance. This may include tracking the person on foot or by car. Detectives often sit in a place where the person in question can be observed but where the detective himself will not attract attention. Some detectives conduct interviews with friends, family and colleagues of the person under surveillance to anticipate their next moves. Then, the detective provides a preliminary report to his client containing relevant information about the person being monitored.
It is important to remember that when a detective has to remain anonymous, it takes time. Your detective will spend hours documenting trips and conversations that do not seem important so you do not have to do it yourself. But if nothing happens during a day of surveillance, your detective will have nothing to report. Sometimes investigations can take weeks or even months. It is important to stay patient.