private investigators mississauaga

What is Surveillance?

What is surveillance and how does a private investigator use it in their line of work?

Surveillance is the act of close observation, which is often used by private investigators to observe people, places or things without being detected. It is an important tool for collecting information and evidence, including facts, photographs or even video. Some examples of situations in which a private investigator would use this technique include:
1) Locating missing persons
2) Tracking the movements of someone under investigation
3) Discovering the location of hidden or stolen property
4) Catching a suspect in the act
5) Obtaining evidence to be used in court

Private investigators often trail individuals in their vehicles or post up near the subject’s home and document their activity.

PI’s typically work alone, particularly during surveillance so as not to attract attention to themselves. They must be hyperaware of their surroundings and document everything; regardless of whether or not they believe it is pertinent to the case. They must also be hyper vigilant to not be detected by anyone, and know when to remove themselves if their position becomes compromised.

Private investigators must abide by all local, provincial and federal laws while using surveillance. Typically the PI would not engage with the subject, unless they become an interview witness.

Common equipment used by private investigators for surveillance include:
1) Camera (usually high quality) with zoom lens
2) A suitable and nondescript vehicle for transportation and for cover
3) Binoculars
4) Paper and writing utensils for recording thoughts
5) Tape recorder, another option for recording thoughts
6) Change of clothes to blend in to whatever environment

The following are common FAQ’s regarding surveillance.

Q: Are there any other kinds of surveillance?
A: As an alternative to physical surveillance, private investigators can conduct technological surveillance by using CCTV cameras and satellites or monitoring the online activity of the subject (i.e. social media).

Q: What is the difference between surveillance and monitoring?
A: Surveillance is often used for the collection of specific evidence of a specific crime or incident, whereas monitoring refers to continual and systematic observation of a subject that could take place over weeks, months or years.

Q: What are some tips and tricks of the trade?
A: A good private investigator will tell you that it is important to know as much about the subject as possible before launching into surveillance. Gathering your facts about the person or place allows for more efficiency and effectiveness. Surveying the location ahead of time can be beneficial as well, as is being early to the scene.

Looking for a PI? Make sure to ask if surveillance is in their repertoire. A good PI will use all of the tools at their disposal.