Another suggestion from tutor Jo in our progress tutorial- as a follow on from the research we have already put into the body language of lying to how to detect lies...
10 surveillance/investigation techinques...
1. Mini-vans are best for survelliance. Get tinted glass so you can sit in the back, virtually unoticed, most anywhere. I like the older mini-vans, like the Caravancs, as they are more nimble and blend in better (they're everywhere) than newer ones. Once you've worked out of a van you'll never go back to a car.
2. Stay on the vehicle's bumper when tailing in the city, and allow a car between you as a buffer in slower areas. There are too many stoplights, stop signs and traffic in the city, making it easy to lose the tail.
3. Lack of dew on a vehicle during morning hours could indicate it was moved sometime that night.
4. Verify address by looking at the mailbox for a name or peeking at the mail if it's sticking out.
5. Determine whether residence is a single or multi-family home by counting the number of electric meters.
6. While tailing someone you notice the person is stopping i.e. in front of a house- you (as cover) continue past, turn into an empty driveway as if you belong there. Don't lose sight of the person.
7. Take detailed notes via pen and paper or voice recorder. Write date/times, make and plate of any vehicles there, any vehicle movement, anyone showing up, etc. Good notes are crucial for yourself and for the report you give to the client. You, as a private investigator, may be asked to testify so accuracy is critical.
8. Accurately estimating the height of an individual can be difficult )that's why those height charts are on doors of convinience stores). You can get a good idea by comparing the individual's height to that of any vehicle that they get into or out of. This will become easier with practice.
9. When running video, there will be lots of stop starting of the camera- create definite borders between clips by placing your hand over the camera at the end of each segment. Make sure a time and date stamp appears on the tape (setting on the camera). Always obtain a panoramic video shot of location and vehicle for video verification that the person was there.
10. Stake-out can run several hours and occur in non-optimal situations i.e no convenience store nearby, so keep a roll of toilet paper in your vehicle at all times. Surveillance involves hours of nothing followed by minutes or even seconds of intense excitement. Make those small parcels of excitement pay off well by following proper investigative techniques.
Private detectives and investigators assist individuals, businesses, and attorneys by finding and analyzing information. Connecting clues to uncover facts about legal, financial and often personal matters. Private detectors and investigators offer many services, including executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; preemployment verification; and individual background profiles. Some investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft, harrassing e-mails, and illegal downloading of copyrighted materials. They also provide assistance in criminal and civil liberty cases, insurance claims and fraud cases, child custody and protection cases, missing-persons cases, and premarital screening.
Private detectives and investigators may use methods to determine the facts in a case. Much of their work is done with a computer. For example, they often recover deleted e-mails and documents. They also may perform computer database searches or work with someone who does. Computers allow investigators to quickly obtain huge amounts of information, such as records of a subject's prior arrests, convictions and civil legal judgments; telephone numbers; information about motor vehicle registrations; records of association and club memberships; social networking site details; and even photographs.
Detectives and investigators also perform various other types of surveillance or searches. To verify facts, such as an individual's income or place of employment, they may make phone calls or visit a subject's workplace.
Most detectives and investigators are trained to perform physical surveillance, which may be high or low tech. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject. Using photographic and video camera technology, binoculars, mobile phones and GPS systems, detectives gather information on an individual. Surveillance can be notoriously time consuming.
The duties of private detectives and investigators depend on the needs of their clients.
Many detectives and investigators spend time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in the office most of the day, conducting computer searches and making phone calls.
Investigators generally work alone, but they sometimes work with others, especially during surveillance or when they follow a subject. Some of the work involves confrontation, so the job can be stressful and dangerous.
Private detectives and investigators often work irregular hours because of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who are not available during normal working hours. Early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.
It has been really interesting finding out more about the every day life of a private detective, and the routines which they endure in order to aid the ultimate success of their work. Though I think that the information and researched I have sourced a little too formal and severe in the way of creating design, we could easily extract some of these elements to create an informative, yet humorous guide.