Surveillance is the observation of a person, place, or thing. It’s an integral part of many private investigations. It’s helpful to track and monitor someone’s whereabouts when we’re gathering evidence. As investigators, we have to be careful that we aren’t caught in the act, as being discovered can completely ruin an investigation. The type of surveillance we use depends on the investigation. We’ll take you through some of our favourite surveillance techniques as well as some situations when they are beneficial.
Static surveillance is exactly what it sounds like. It involves staying in one position and observing what happens there. Subjects might be plotting something in this location, or it may be their point of rendezvous with their accomplices. Often, we can cover multiple angles in the location by making use of security cameras, as well as arming ourselves with our own video cameras.
This is usually what we do when we’re conducting security surveillance. If someone suspects an imminent burglary from their home or business, we’d use this method. It’s beneficial because we can arrange it with little warning. In as little as two hours, we can comprehensively cover an entire property with recording devices. often just a few hours.
When we conduct mobile surveillance, we actively follow the subject. It’s a bit more difficult to be caught out when using this method. It is used primarily to find out where someone goes. A lot of the time, it’s helpful to make use of GPS tracking devices, as it removes the initial need to physically tail someone; it’s always best to gather as much intelligence as possible before deploying any kind of surveillance.
We use mobile surveillance a lot when we’re trying to figure out who exactly someone is. Cheating spouses are occasionally involved with people who are entirely unknown to their other half. In these cases we’d typically conduct two separate mobile surveillances. The first would involve tailing the spouse in order to gather evidence of the affair, and the second would involve following the other man or woman to figure out who they are, where they live, and where they work.
In other cases, this strategy is helpful in investigations into egregious employee time theft, as well as personal injury claims and child custody disputes.
Unlike the other physical surveillance methods that we’ve described, conducting surveillance online is achievable from our office. Typically, we’d begin with a check of the subject’s social media accounts. This can reveal huge amounts of information, like their address, other aliases, and IP address. With this information we can broaden our search, first across the surface web, then through overlay networks, also known as ‘the dark web’.
We can use this technical surveillance to prove that someone isn’t really who they say they are. This is important in investigations into romance fraud and prenuptial investigations. It can also be beneficial in enhanced due diligence background checks, as we can continuously keep tabs on our subject’s digital footprint.