Performing Surveillance Investigations
Surveillance Investigators, otherwise referred to as Secret Agents, gather evidence and collect information for any legal proceedings against a suspect. Many times, they are also employed by other law enforcement agencies to assist them in executing warrants, making arrests and conducting sting operations. These investigations are conducted to both detect and prevent the illegal activities of criminal organizations, both foreign and domestic. The goal of many private investigators is to obtain and deliver evidence that will ultimately assist them in convicting criminals.
The vast majority of private investigators begin their careers performing background checks on individuals. In most cases, they run a check on potential employees, tenants and individuals that buy homes or rent space in residential communities. Conducting background checks on individuals is a necessary part of conducting investigative investigations. A background check can help provide the necessary proof necessary to prove if a person has a history of illegal activity. In addition, conducting background checks on clients can reveal any contact they have with criminal organizations.
There are several ways private investigators can conduct investigations. The most common method used by them is secretly watching a subject as they move about their day-to-day life. This method requires the surveillance investigator to place hidden cameras on subjects while they engage in everyday activities such as eating, drinking or working.
While most background checks only require that the person be employed at the time of the investigation, surveillance investigators are more interested in obtaining tangible evidence. For example, if a private investigator is doing a case study and needs specific information regarding a specific location, they may interview potential subjects about their knowledge of that particular location. They may also do research about a city to find out where crime is primarily committed. Once they have gathered this type of tangible evidence, they will often compile it into a report which they present to their client for evaluation and prosecution. Surveillance investigations require a large amount of skill and patience because they frequently take months to complete.
Most surveillance investigators use video recordings as part of their investigations. The recorded video can often be used as evidence in a court case once the investigator gathers other pertinent evidence from another source. Video recordings can provide crucial evidence that can help a prosecutor prove the defendant’s guilt or show that the victim is not telling the truth. Video recordings can be used during any phase of an investigation whether it involves criminal justice, corporate security, corporate fraud or even an employee theft.
Private detectives and surveillance investigators utilize different investigative techniques. Some surveillance investigators interview witnesses. These are called “interrogation techniques.” Other surveillance investigators use computer forensics to determine deleted text messages. Computer forensics can also be used to obtain deleted e-mail and instant messages.
Many investigation techniques can be used by surveillance investigators. An example is called a “confidential listing”. This technique is often used to obtain information about an individual who has been involved in criminal activity. If the individual has been questioned in regards to criminal activity or if they have been arrested, an investigator can use a confidential listing to obtain information from the police force. A “confidential listing” is usually only used as a routine part of an investigation and is not utilized for “discovery”.
Surveillance investigators can also interview company employees. For a company employee who is suspected of committing a crime, a private investigator can use video recordings to determine whether or not the employee is telling the truth. Company employees who are suspected of wrongdoing will often hire surveillance investigators to conduct surveillance operations on themselves and ask questions to help prove their innocence. Sometimes a company will engage a private investigator to conduct investigations on its behalf when it faces accusations from another company or the government. This is especially common when the company is facing liability for the actions of its employee.