Working for the state or other investigative agencies, surveillance investigators operate with their private employers to gather evidence to support investigations and to draw reasonable conclusions from the evidence. Surveillance investigators may also serve as an undercover investigator, using their past experience in the armed forces, law enforcement, military, homeland security, or secret service. There are many areas where surveillance investigation is used today. The following list describes the many types of surveillance investigations that are conducted and the individuals who conduct them.
The most common type of surveillance investigations involve missing persons. Surveillance private investigators to conduct investigations to find and notify the whereabouts of persons believed to be missing. Some common methods used are GPS locators, satellite tracking, and un-intended and intentional release of information through media such as television and the Internet. Other types of investigations may include:
Surveillance investigators use video recordings to provide testimony in court. Many court cases involve criminal justice proceedings and video recordings are often critical in the case’s presentation. Surveillance investigators collect video recordings from security companies, banks, government buildings, recording devices installed in businesses, and public areas. They review the videos and identify potential subjects, follow leads, and gather personal information. When criminal justice proceedings are part of the case, surveillance investigators to interview witnesses and collect any physical or mental evidence that can be helpful in the case.
Another common type of surveillance investigations involves corporate security. Corporate security staff to monitor the activities of employees and monitor their computer activities. They may search computers or emails to aid in the case development and determine any evidence of negligence or inappropriate employee behavior. Sometimes corporate security personnel may require surveillance investigators to visit the location where a security case is being processed. These investigations are often used to obtain and review documentation related to a lawsuit against a company or individual.
A video surveillance investigator may also use video equipment to detect child abuse or human trafficking. The investigator uses a hidden video camera to capture images of the suspect and then compares those images to the scene of the suspected activity. When human trafficking is suspected, surveillance investigators often interview witnesses and collect physical evidence from the suspects. With video recording equipment, the investigator can review the evidence and determine if a suspect is guilty of human trafficking.
Private investigation is another field in which surveillance investigators are needed. A private investigator conducts secret investigations that are not publicly known about. For example, a private investigator can obtain secret medical records, background checks, financial data, and property documents that are not publicly known. Often times, a criminal justice agency will hire a private investigator to conduct background checks on an individual or potential employees before the individual is put into a high-level position in the office.
Another type of surveillance that has increased in popularity over the years is “spider webbing”. This is when an investigator sets up cameras outside of an area in order to watch the area for possible activity. Many private investigators utilize webcams to spy on suspicious behavior outside the home. They may be interested in seeing if the babysitter is disposing of large amounts of money, they may be interested in seeing if the employee is telling the truth about hours he spent at work, or they may be interested in seeing if someone is trying to break into their home.
When considering the employment of video surveillance investigators, it is important to think about all of the different jobs that such a position would be needed in. There are many different agencies that use video equipment to protect the public. The FBI, for example, often uses video surveillance to protect federal buildings and properties. When hiring covert agents, it is important to consider how closely the agency monitors the behavior of its agents. When hiring a covert agent, it is important to check references, check background information, and learn about agency rules and regulations.