Surveillance Techniques Used by Private Investigators

There are many techniques that a private investigator, Silver Shield New York City Private Investigation Services, will use to find their suspect and glean information for their client or to be used in a court of law. Here are a few that will get you started on understanding surveillance techniques.

Start With Details

Learn everything about the suspect by gathering as much detailed information as possible. This will include the person name, address, place of employment, picture, any appointments that are coming up, children, schools if they are in school or have children in school, hobbies and so on. While some of this may seem trivial, it may help in identifying or locating the subject.

Non-Descript Car

The surveillance vehicle should be so boring that it blends right in with the others in the area where you’re doing the surveillance. It shouldn’t have any bumper stickers, unique paint jobs or any identifying marks on it. It should be a beige, black, silver, gray or brown color. Avoid brighter colors like red and yellow. Avoid any vanity plates or customization. Consider non-descript cars like a Camry or Civic and an earthy color. Even if the vehicle is tricked out on the inside, it should never appear as such on the outside.

Drive By Early Before Starting

Drive by the residence and place of employment prior to beginning surveillance. You can often note specific cars (both the subjects and any visitors) and potential routes to and from the place of employment. Take a moment and check Google Earth to find all the various routes they could take and become very familiar with them. You may also scope out areas where you’re less likely to be noticed at this point in time. If it’s not possible to be covert the entire time, you may need a secondary vehicle in a position elsewhere to swap out or to have a co-worker pick up the task.  Plan out areas where you can park ahead of time to have the subject in view. Plan several areas in case you have to move or follow the subject. Make note of ways to follow unobtrusively.

Start Early And Plan Ahead

Your subject may start out early, you never truly know. Get into position by 6:00 a.m. for best results. Plan ahead and if need be hand the task off to another co-worker at some point in time. You may also wish to have someone “drop the car off” and walk away and then you get to the car a bit later to make it look as if no one is in it.  It’s normal to have to use the facilities and eat during surveillance but unfortunately, this is often when they will make their move. Bring along a small cooler with easy to eat foods that will keep your energy going, bring a thermos of coffee and bottles of water. Don’t forget an old laundry detergent bottle so that you can relieve yourself if need be. The one time you step out of the vehicle to relieve yourself is, unfortunately, the one time you shouldn’t have taken your eyes off of the subject.

Remain Vigilant

It may be tempting to bring along the latest novel, but then you’re likely to miss out on what you need to learn. Avoid temptation, leave the novel at home and bring binoculars, a good camera (cell phone cameras are best as no one will realize what you’re doing) with a telephoto lens, and pay attention to when trash day is for this block. You may learn a lot on trash day as you see the subject take the trash can to the curb. Keep a notepad handy for plenty of notes as well. Record the facts as you would for any court trial. Remove any derogatory or inflammatory information that would be considered unprofessional.

These tips will help anyone who is doing surveillance to do so unobtrusively.