Surveillance investigators find out what’s really going on
Private surveillance investigators: get the proof you need
Something doesn’t seem right, and you want to know what’s going on. You don’t feel comfortable confronting the person, and it would be too obvious if you followed them yourself. To get photographic proof, you need a professional surveillance investigator.
When private investigators conduct surveillance investigations, it’s almost like they have the super power of invisibility. You’ll be amazed at the photos and evidence they collect without being noticed. Want to know their secret and how they can work for you?
A surveillance investigation can give you the answer to your question: What’s really going on here?
What is surveillance?
Surveillance is the act of following a subject who is suspected of fraud, adultery or other dubious behaviour. The Private Investigator records evidence of a crime, activity or event happening now.
The investigator’s goal is to collect evidence of the activity without being noticed. The investigator reports back to their client with photos, video, recordings, locations and other information about what happened during the surveillance activity.
What can surveillance investigations solve?
The purpose of surveillance is to investigate a suspected activity happening now. To gather first-hand objective evidence that can be used in personal, corporate or criminal matters.
Personal issues: Cheating partner, child custody cases, or proof of gambling or addiction
Corporate cases: Employees suspected of fraud, theft or dishonesty
Insurance cases: Investigate the validity of WorkCover, insurance or compensation claims
Criminal cases: investigating suspected criminal activity
In cases of suspected criminal activity, private investigators are always careful not to interfere in open Police investigations. A PI might refuse to help a client if it could interfere with Police work.
How do PIs conduct surveillance investigations?
The private investigator follows the subject, collects evidence such as photos or video, and reports back to the client. Here’s the usual process for surveillance investigations:
You, the client, tell the investigator what you think is happening, and why you are concerned. The PI needs as much information as you can give about the subject, their history and movements. You’ll need to supply a few photos of the person you want followed.
Other helpful information includes their frequent locations such as home address, work and social activities. If you know their vehicle type and registration number, that helps too.
The PI will also discuss your relationship to the person and what you plan to do with any evidence they collect. You want to know the truth, and you need to be prepared for how you’ll feel when you know. It’s upsetting to find out that your partner is cheating, so you need to be prepared for that possibility.
Out of protection for subjects’ safety, if a PI suspects that the client might hurt the subject, the PI can refuse to follow them or provide evidence. The PI also reserves the right to hand evidence over to the Police if a crime has been committed. In fact, the PI has a legal obligation to hand certain criminal evidence to the Police.
The investigator will conduct research about the subject to confirm the information you’ve given. They’ll also make a plan for when and how to follow the surveillance subject, assemble their team and any special equipment.
Surveillance investigators usually work alone, however, they are more effective when they work in a team. The team could be as small as two, or as large as ten, depending on the complexity and length of the case. If they need to follow a subject for several days, having many agents on the case helps investigators to stay unnoticed, and helps them rest in between shifts because they need to stay sharp.
What the investigator looks like is just as important. If the subject is a young lady going to an event for female entrepreneurs, then a male PI in his 60s is going to arouse suspicion. The best chance of staying unnoticed comes from choosing the right investigator for the job; someone who fits in wherever the subject goes.
Following a surveillance subject
Investigators follow their subjects on foot, in cars or on public transport, to see where they go during their activities. There are a few techniques to avoid being noticed, including choosing ordinary-looking cars and changing cars frequently. There’s that common scene in movies of a subject looking in the rear view mirror and seeing 4 black SUVs following them; that’s not how PIs do it, because it’s just so obvious!
What kind of surveillance tools do investigators use?
PIs use sophisticated surveillance technology. As you know the camera in your phone is tiny, and it’s the same technology that PIs use in concealed devices to collect evidence.
Communication devices: a surveillance team working together needs to communicate about the subject’s movements, so they talk to each other using concealed earpieces and microphones.
Body worn cameras: PIs take photos and video on tiny cameras hidden in their clothes, watches or accessories. Pens can conceal voice recorders, and even a water bottle can hold a camera. It’s like James Bond tech of the future.
Vehicle mounted cameras: The surveillance vehicle will usually have a dash-mounted camera recording the subject’s movements. This keeps the PI’s hands free to drive safely.
Back ups: Private Investigators use strict evidence handling procedures including contemporaneous note taking, and back ups of digital files to preserve continuity of evidence. If they are investigating a crime, the evidence they collect may be used in court. But, if the PI doesn’t follow correct evidence handling procedures, the evidence might be inadmissible, which could let a guilty person walk free.
Once the subject is on foot, so is the PI. Surveillance investigators could be sitting at the café table next to your subject (close enough to hear conversation in public) or they could be watching and discreetly taking photos from a distance.
The main rule of surveillance on foot is to keep moving. The investigator walks past in one direction, then a second investigator walks past in another direction. Following, hiding and peeking out from behind racks of clothes in a shopping mall looks weird and will definitely arouse suspicion. PIs get very good at blending in and remaining unnoticed, just like any ordinary person going about their day.
Am I under surveillance?
Chances are, you’d never know if you were under surveillance. Private investigators are masters at going unnoticed.
As a test, we asked a PI to follow one of our team members for a day. They followed her in a car, from her home to a friend’s house three suburbs away, then on foot to a park with her child.
The subject knew it was happening that day and she still didn’t notice anything. She was actively looking for a car following her, looking for people hanging around, and checking if she saw the same person multiple times. A team of five PIs remained completely unnoticed. Like invisible super heroes.
In another test, a team of surveillance trainees followed a subject for a day, at the same time as a group of five bodyguard trainees were protecting the subject. Even after a day of surveillance, the bodyguard trainees didn’t notice anyone following, and they were surprised to see up-close photos of their subject at the end of the day.
Private investigators are highly skilled, so chances are you’d never know you were under surveillance.
Hire a PI for a surveillance investigation
If you’ve got a burning question that you want answered, contact a private investigator about surveillance. Then you’ll know, with photographic proof, what’s really happening.
Contact an Australian Private Investigator today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about how a PI can help you, or refer the best available Investigator. Feel free to get in touch.