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Surveillance Services in the Private Sector

Updated on March 1, 2011

When in doubt, check them out. That's the phrase that comes to mind when you think of surveillance services within the private sector. Private investigators are called upon daily to investigate not only unfaithful cheats but workman compensation claims, to check on work habits of employees or even check on a spouse behavior for child custody battles. Setting up surveillance is the best way to find out if your significant other is cheating or behaving badly, your employees ripping you off or if someone is committing insurance fraud.

For most people by the time they decide on hiring a private eye they probably have had enough reason and suspicion and are totally distrustful, frustrated and fed up with the current situation. Not wanting to accuse and confront their loved one or employee without proof is one of the reasons for surveillance. Afterwards, whether they act upon the findings, ignore them or use them for legal proceedings is a very personal and individual choice.

A Word of Caution

Mobile gps monitoring are for placement in company owned or client owned personal vehicles, spy cameras in inconspicuous places in the place of employment or your residence are effective and less expensive ways of detecting cheats. You can either purchase and install these yourself or sometimes you may even rent them from a licensed invesstigator and have them put in by the private eye.

Beware that it is a criminal offense to attempt to use any device to intercept oral communications. Unless consent has been given by the person whose communication is intercepted, it is part of a court order, it is a telephone company trace, a 911 call, a two way radio communication, or an inadvertent capture of a crime reported to law enforcement it remains highly illegal to record someones conversation. Also be aware that mobile tracking devices are strictly prohibited unless a court order has been granted.

Surveillance remains the most effective and common way to accomplish and expose cheats as it allows for the opportunity to obtain photos and or video by an experienced professional with no liability to you the consumer. Combinations of monitored gps devices and hiddden cameras plus surveillance also work well and are commonly used in the course of a private investigation.

In Preparation for Surveillance: General Information Gathered

First thing a private investigator will ask for is a recent photograph of the subject. Pertinent information such as full name, home address, place of employment, vehicle driven including tag and as much a detailed description or summary of daily activities, work schedule, friends in the area, social behavior, whether he is a smoker or drinker, and places the subject may frequent such as friends, relatives, bars or lodges. In the event of a suspected unfaithful lover, if known, the possible suspicious person you believe your significant other may be seeing.

Some people intentionally try to avoid giving this information believing it is the investigators job to gather it. Though it may seem rational, providing this already known information eliminates from the expense of the investigator having to compile it all.

Useful Tactic

If possible the client should opt to leave the residence they share with their significant other. Going out of town to visit relatives, vacationing or scheduling work related trips during this time allows the subject of the surveillance to make his or her own plans. This of course is not necessary but serves to further relax the subject into action if in fact he or she is cheating.

 Same philosophy goes for unsuspecting employees. Announcing the boss will be away is giving permission for the mouse to play.

Licensed Private Investigators

Surveillance services in the private sector are conducted by licensed private investigators and private investigator interns. No one that is not licensed should attempt conducting such services. Legal aspects of surveillance protect the rights and property of people and it would be terribly unfortunate to be charged with a criminal act such as trespassing, invasion of privacy, harassment, stalking, illegal use of electronics and or willful or malicious acts.

Investigators follow the subject around in their own vehicles equipped with video cameras, binoculars and a good 35mm camera with various lenses to capture distance photos. On foot surveillamce reqouires smaller and less conspicous video and digital. Digital cameras although great for fast upload and email have limitations in the world of surveillance as you have to be relatively close to the subject to get good photographs.

Selection of surveillance time will greatly depend on the needs of the client. Often times the investigator will determine the best time based on the information gathered during a pre-surveillance investigation which includes gathering of background information, checking the area of surveillance prior to starting, checking all exits and where they may lead.

A good P.I. will document times and activity on a log sheet at different intervals during the surveillance as well as addresses and places visited. You should expect a full report or affidavit along with any photos and or video taken. Surveillance, including pictures and video (no sound) is legal and appropriate if done in a reasonable and unobtrusive manner with the purpose of honest investigation by a professional.

Generally surveillance is prescheduled and conducted for a minimum of between four to eight hours at a rate of between $35 to $75 an hour plus reasonable expenses. Different areas will have different rates but this is a good general outline of what to expect. Many P.I.'s will not take on less than an 8 hour job.


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      3 years ago

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      3 years ago

      It's always a relief when someone with obvious exspitree answers. Thanks!


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