Private Investigator vs stalking people: what’s the difference? The nature of our work leads many people to ask themselves this question. We’re adamant that they’re not the same thing at all. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the significant differences between legitimate private investigation and stalking.
Why Do Some People Think Investigation is Stalking?
Stalking has no fixed legal definition, but in general, it’s some kind of unwanted surveillance or repeated unwanted contact. Often, PIs conduct ‘unwanted’ surveillance, so, naturally, some people would think it might constitute stalking behaviour.
It’s important to know that, while there could be an argument that surveillance is stalking, there are some key differences that separate the two.
Stalkers are Differently Motivated
When it comes to conducting surveillance on someone, a Private Investigator is motivated only by their professional obligation. On the other hand, a stalker may be motivated by:
- Delusion. Many stalkers believe that they are romantically involved with their victims. In their mind, stalking is an expression of love.
- Malice. Some stalkers actively want to cause their victim alarm and distress.
- Entitlement. It’s not uncommon for stalkers to believe that they have a right to do what they do. They feel like their victims owe them attention or affection.
Obviously, none of these motivations should appear in a private investigator. They conduct surveillance for a fee in order to find information for someone else.
Stalkers Have Victims
In general, stalkers either don’t care about being caught or actively want to be noticed by the victim. As we’ve seen, their motivation, either directly or indirectly, is to cause harm. We’d never conduct an investigation in a way that makes anyone else feel distressed or afraid.
Good investigators don’t get any kind of personal gratification from conducting surveillance. We’re careful not to get involved in cases where we think that sort of thing might be happening. We’re just there to gather evidence for our clients.
Although we’ve never been noticed conducting surveillance, we’d stop if we were. We’re not at all interested in repeatedly conducting unwanted surveillance while the subject is aware. We imagine that that would be very distressing for the subject and would indeed constitute stalking.
Private Investigators Respect the Law
At the heart of all stalking is the invasion of someone else’s privacy. PIs don’t conduct surveillance on private property, while stalkers are often willing to trespass and make unwanted contact.
Although there aren’t any separate anti-stalking laws, much of the protection that anti-harassment laws cover victims of stalking receive. We, and other good investigation agencies, aren’t interested in harassing anyone.
For example, a stalker would probably be willing to use GPS tracking indiscriminately; a PI has to make sure they’re keeping things safe and above-board. We don’t place GPS trackers in any vehicle without the owner’s permission.
Can a Private Investigator Protect You from a Stalker?
Because of the vague nature of the offence, law enforcement and police forces struggle to manage stalking. When you couple this with the limited number of available criminal investigators, the police will probably be unable to prioritise your case. Although this is frustrating, it might be worthwhile to consider hiring a private investigator to protect against stalking.
As a private security measure, we can perform a range of counter-surveillance activities. We can find out who your stalker is and gather evidence of their inappropriate activity. We can also perform a background check to see whether your stalker has been involved in this kind of activity before. Further, we can tell you if they have a criminal record.
It may not be enough to level criminal charges. Still, it could be sufficient to file a restraining order. In this case, further attempts to follow and contact you would be illegal.
When it comes to Private Investigators vs stalking people, the fundamental difference is motivation. If you want more information about our motivations, or you need help with counter-surveillance and stalker protection, please give us a call on 0800 002 9858. Alternatively, please fill out this form, and one of our agents will get back to you using your preferred contact method.