Planning to be a D.I.Y. Surveillance Investigator? Think again.

I can't tell you how many clients come to us after they have tried to become a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) surveillance investigator - and decided it was harder than they thought. There are several reason why it makes sense to hire a private investigator when you need expert surveillance services, not the least of which is: surveillance operations require a tremendous amount of patience! Surveillance also requires the right high-tech equipment if you want to capture professional quality surveillance video and/or photos. These are just a couple of reasons why a licensed private investigator is your best bet. Knowing how to follow someone properly, where to park for the best vantage point and the least exposure. And knowing when to split to avoid someone's confirmation that that suspicious vehicle or person was actually up to something.

Hire an Orange County Private Investigator for Surveillance Services

Once You're Cover is Blown - Your Surveillance Services are Pointless!

Here's the thing: The vast majority of the population can tell when they are being looked at or watched, sometimes even when the watcher is using high-powered binoculars or a telephoto lens. If you can see them, they can most likely see you.

Professional surveillance investigators know exactly how much to watch, and how much to use peripheral vision to keep their subjects from becoming suspicious. Biochemist and author Rupert Sheldrake has done extensive research on the science of the sixth sense. He is fascinated by the unseen forces that drive human and animal behavior. Sheldrake has written extensively on the human (and animal) ability to recognize when we are being watched by another, even when the "other" is completely out of normal visual range. His published report, "The Sense of Being Stared At," examined whether this idea was real or illusory. According to interviews and questionnaires filled out by thousands of people, an overwhelming majority believe they can tell when they are being watched. As veteran private investigators, we don't necessarily agree with what these people believe. We are in the field on a regular basis.

It takes private investigators a good deal of experience before we learn how to "watch without watching." We must be very quick at capturing photos and film for our clients, and we work very hard to avoid being caught. I won't even begin to delve into the skills it takes when you need to follow a subject without being noticed. That is fodder for a future blog. I will tell you though; too many private investigators do not possess this skill.

It takes Patience and a Cool Cover

In the movies, surveillance services appear much more exciting and fast paced than they usually are in the real world. In "real life," it can take hours of sitting still in one location to get the footage you need for your client(s). Every once in a while, the subject is already suspicious.

An experienced investigator knows exactly what to say and has a reliable cover prepared to ensure his/her surveillance services aren't wasted. You have to be quick on your feet and have a good story. You can't have your camera and a file with the subject's or the client's name on it sitting on the seat next to you. Discretion and experience are most certainly the name of the game on more levels than the average "DIY" surveillance investigator is going to master their first time around.

High-Tech Photo and Video Surveillance Equipment

As mentioned before, a few subjects can eventually get a "feeling" they are being watched. The experienced private investigator knows how not to confirm their suspicions. In cases where our clients are attempting to catch a cheating spouse, or corporate clients hire us to follow employees who are stealing or selling products/information, the evidence must be crystal clear and leave no room for interpretation.

Much of the time, our surveillance footage is going to be used as evidence in a court room. It takes years of practice to become adept at capturing legitimate surveillance evidence quickly and while on the move. Knowing when to take the shot is as important as knowing when not to try it and miss the right opportunity and potentially get caught. You should not to sit on surveillance and over-use binoculars, camera or video camera. Consider your surroundings and the case objective. Why are you there? What would be the important situation you need to potentially break cover for, to document or observe, even if this means being observed by a third party or your subject. Again, strategy we can discuss or teach another time.

Professional Documentation and Reports

If you do think you will use the evidence your surveillance investigator provides in a future court case, you want to make sure the information is documented professionally. While your friend's or cousin's evidence from their "DIY" surveillance operation may have been free, it won't carry the same weight in a court of law as a professionally documented report, presented by a licensed private investigator, a surveillance investigator. Remember that surveillance evidence can also be used to assist in gaining child custody and/or to increase child support payments. The more professional the surveillance report, the more it will be respected by lawyers and judges. If your investigator obtains video at the wrong time and submits this as evidence, it may have the wrong result for you. Only the most experienced private investigators understand this to the degree needed.

Take it from us: providing expert surveillance services is harder than you might think. Plus, a professional surveillance investigator can often tailor their services to get the evidence you need for an affordable price. Don't miss out on the opportunity to get critical evidence for your case by botching a surveillance job. Hire a private surveillance investigator and get the evidence you need the first time around.

Mike Garroutte is the owner of Linked Investigations. He has been a licensed Orange County private investigator for decades. He works as a surveillance investigator in Los Angeles and Orange counties, throughout southern California and abroad. Contact Linked Investigations when you need professional and affordable surveillance services.

Published on: 
March 1, 2012
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