Although the reasons for hiring a private investigator are as vast and varied as the individuals or businesses that hire their services—one aspect is similar throughout: the need to find information.
And, one of the most effective ways to successfully acquire information is through careful surveillance. Hiring a skilled and professional private investigator (or PI) is absolutely essential when it comes to discrete and effective investigative surveillance.
Understanding what surveillance services are available to you, and how those services are implemented, will best inform a positive decision for your unique situation. Here are the basics you need to know about surveillance services and methods.
Common types of surveillance services
From under-the-radar operations to one-on-one interviews, there are several surveillance options available to lawyers, individuals, and corporate clients, alike.
- From check-ups on nannies or babysitters to suspected child abuse and custody issues, surveillance of a minor is a common private investigation request by individuals. (An important note: A professional PI will be particularly careful to protect the child and ensure all investigation is done in a manner that will not endanger the minor.)
- Another vulnerable demographic that’s often part of surveillance work requests: Watching over the elderly. If an elderly family member is receiving questionable care, an investigation may turn up reasons why or evidence to help make a claim and press formal criminal charges.
- Keeping an eye on an office or home that may have experienced damage or vandalism is another way surveillance can provide helpful information. Recorded evidence can be later used to file an insurance claim or resolve a court case.
- Getting help tracking down a long-lost or estranged family member—or someone who has unexpectedly disappeared—is a good reason to hire a private investigator. In addition to surveillance, a PI will do careful research and in-the-field leg work to help locate your missing loved one.
- When it comes to legal embroilments, trademark or proprietary information issues, worker’s compensation or injuries, and so much more—surveillance support for a business or company can be essential. Having recorded evidence on hand contributes to a stronger case if your business is facing a difficult situation.
- For help finding evidence, identifying witnesses, obtaining documents, and more, many lawyers enlist the help of a PI. Successful surveillance work, obtained in a lawful manner, can become central to a case or claim.
Three main types of surveillance methods
Most surveillance is covert in nature, meaning it is executed carefully and while undercover. In order to do this successfully, safely, and legally, hiring an experienced professional is key.
- Physical Surveillance: This type of common surveillance is so often depicted in film and TV. No doubt, you’ve seen the picture: someone tucked into a car parked in a dark corner, with a camera in one hand and notepad in another. This type of investigation is done behind the scenes, at a distance, and even in disguise. Sometimes, there may be a team of investigators at work—with people working in a place and in motion.
- Technical Surveillance: Much as it would sound like, this type of surveillance involves the implementation and analysis of technical findings amassed through audio and visual surveillance. This is also known as A/V surveillance. The investigator may utilize recording devices, motion sensors, and audio recorders—as well as camera and video or digital recorders.
- Digital Surveillance: Not too dissimilar to technical surveillance, this type of investigation focuses more deeply on a person’s online practices and behaviors. Looking at social media, sifting through online records, web history, and so on are all aspects of digital surveillance.
- Interviews: Tried, true, and traditional; interviews are conducted with family and friends, witnesses, and others to help stitch together information around missing persons, potentially criminal behavior, and questionable events. One-on-one interviews between a private investigator and a person of interest or witness can be crucial to surveillance investigation and help open up leads that may bring a case to fruition.
Why it’s a good idea to skip trying surveillance on your own and hire a pro
Private investigation clients often seek help gathering important or delicate information, to be cataloged and used later for legal or insurance claims, to help solve a crime (or suspected crime), and more. Often this work is needed to support or disprove legal cases. This can be done with or without police help. But, should always be done with a professional private investigator.
Licensed and experienced private investigators are the best folks to put your trust in. Why? They know the ins and outs of managing complex surveillance work. And, they best understand the limits of the field—which often cut a fine line along rather confusing and murky borders.
If you’ve questioned the importance of hiring a private investigator to assist in gathering important information, this is the time to ask for help. We’ll listen to your needs and questions and help you build a specialized and unique plan to guide you on a path to successful outcomes.
As experienced gatherers of data, private investigators are focused on deep and effective research—this is a big part of what we do, every day. Our team at Pilum Defense can help you manage the delicacy of surveillance, as well as assist you in organizing and analyzing research results. Contact us today or give us a call at (303) 306-4756 to learn about our surveillance services.