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What Is Surveillance?

For private investigators, the primary purpose of their job is to gather information. There are many ways that a private investigator can do this including going through documents, interviewing people or investigating crime scenes.

However, there are many cases where this wont be enough for the private investigator. Some cases will require up-to-the-minute information.

This means that the information must be in connection to a recent or ongoing event. Going through past documents may not help the private investigator in such a case. However, conducting surveillance will likely do the trick if the private investigator has the skills needed for the job.


What Is Surveillance All About?

Surveillance is a term used by private investigators to describe investigative tactics that require monitoring of a person, thing or location to generate a record of activities carried out or persons associated with the subject of the investigation.

Unlike many other investigative techniques, a private investigator conducting surveillance will be gathering information as it happens rather than from past records. This makes the information more relevant to the present, and the information gathered is also harder to refute.


Why Would You Need Surveillance To Be Carried Out?

Private investigators have many clients who require surveillance services. The reasons vary from the simple to the extremely complex. Some of these reasons include:

  • Investigating cheating spouses: Sometimes the only way to know if your partner is unfaithful is if they are caught in the act with photographic or video evidence
  • Internal theft cases: When money or items are going missing from the company, a private investigator can be hired to stake out the location to see who is behind the theft
  • Employee misconduct: If an employee is thought to be behaving inappropriately or misusing company resources, a private investigator can be asked to follow them
  • Benefits fraud: An employer can also ask a private investigator to perform surveillance on an employee that is claiming to be away from work due to illness or injury

Types Of Surveillance Methods

There are several ways to carry out surveillance. These include:

  • Covert Surveillance: This type of surveillance is carried out using hidden recording devices. The person under surveillance is not supposed to be aware of this.
  • Overt Surveillance: In this type of surveillance, the recording devices e.g. CCTV cameras are placed in locations where they are easily seen. This is used more as a deterrent.
  • On subject surveillance: This type of surveillance requires the private investigator to keep track of the subject of the investigation, note their movements, where they go, what they do, who they meet etc.
  • Static Surveillance: This type of surveillance is done in a particular location. There is no following of individuals to other locations
  • Counter surveillance: This type of surveillance is put in place to identify if an individual is under surveillance

Who Can Provide Surveillance Services?

Only private investigators can be relied on by regular citizens to perform surveillance that is of the required standard. A private investigator must conduct surveillance in a manner that is legal, discreet and able to gather the information needed at the right moment.

It takes time and learning for private investigators to gain the skills needed to execute this type of job competently. This means that an inexperienced person is less likely to manage the same.