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  • Writer's pictureJoel Scoby

The 7 main investigative tools that every private detective should know

When you hire a private detective, you want to be 100% sure that your information and identity are respected and kept private. If this is not strictly adhered to, then it could hinder the investigation and cause unnecessary danger to all parties. The main function of a private investigator is to gather information about a particular person or group of people. That being said, private investigation is so much more than this minimal definition. There are very many issues that require the assistance of a private investigator; whether child custody issues, locators, identity theft, financial investigation or anything else.

When an investigation is conducted by the police, the police have many tools not available to those outside of law enforcement. For example, the police can obtain a judicial order and search an apartment or office for the purpose of finding evidence of a crime, or to carry out a telephone search and locate a suspect's cell phone. A private investigator cannot use these tools and is obligated to abide by the law. For this reason they often make use of impeccable and extensive surveillance. This is a very powerful tool, one that will help you reach the truth of your given situation.

In order for a private investigator to remain undetected and safe in all areas, they may utilize a combination of the following 7 investigative skills and tools:

1. Discretion

There are many discrete tools that private investigators use. One of which is their ability to often seamlessly blend into a crowd and not be noticed. Discretion is important to the case and for your peace of mind; many detectives are highly trained to ensure that they are not noticed. This will not jeopardise the case and therefore, discretion is one tool that is vital to the investigation.

2. Tracking

A private detective is often going to be: tracking the suspect, finding their whereabouts, what they are doing and who they are associating with. In this sense, there are certain technologies that are used. Technological equipment like: surveillance cameras, GPS trackers, listening devices, detection devices, computerized databases and a variety of advanced tools that are used by leading researchers. They will be able to use these effectively and safely to track their suspect.

  • Mobile tracking equipment - listening equipment that allows you to track calls made by the suspect, text messages they send and, of course, their exact location.

  • Computerized tracking software - software that allows the researcher to take control of the suspect’s personal computer and track emails they send and receive, documents they write, the sites they surf and more.

3. Camera operation

Naturally, private detectives need to create a solid trail of physical evidence throughout their investigation. This is often done by the use of cameras. It may be photography cameras or video cameras in order to trace and record the activity. Telescopic lens devices may be used to capture evidence from some distance away. The private investigator may also use recording devices. It is not possible, especially in public spaces to shoot easily with a video camera, and many times it is still important to have the accompanying sounds.

This can be the case where a child or adult caregiver is being monitored and, in fact, this can happen at any follow-up, where visibility may be poor or not possible at all. If you know in advance where the object of surveillance is supposed to go, you can install hidden recorders as well as hidden cameras in the exact location, and thus get both the images and the sounds. If it is a meeting between the subject of the surveillance and another person, one can stand at a relatively short distance and hope that the voices will be able to reach the recording device itself.

4. Openness and communication

It is advisable to meet with the private investigator to understand what their main areas of practice are (if any) and how the actual investigation will be conducted. At this point, once the investigators understand the complexity of the task and how it can be conducted, they will be able to give you an exact price quote. Of course the price varies depending on the characteristics of the investigator and the case itself. Their openness about fees, and what they plan on doing is vital. Being aware of costs is important and if the price is a little too low, it may indicate an investigator who is not professional enough. Their communication with you must be strictly confidential, they must speak clearly and concisely, be friendly and approachable and be working with you as a team. A good private investigator will possess all the above skills and inspire confidence.

5. Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping is another tool, but it is very important to emphasize that the listening abilities of a private investigator are very limited. At the level of principle the law prohibits wiretapping. The police can carry them out, but a judge's permit is required. Under certain conditions it is permissible to record a conversation, but not through a third party - that is, the detective must be a party to the conversation. While there are limitations in the law, a skilled investigator knows how to get the most out of legal eavesdropping, dub suspects and obtain evidence which is perfectly legal and will assist the case.

6. Surveillance

Surveillance is watching and analysing information relating to the person in question. For example, in many cases, insurance companies hire private investigators to deal with compensation claims in suspicious circumstances. There are cases in which an insured has manufactured a disability and appeared before medical committees with a wheelchair. In such cases when there is a suspicion that it is a faked disability (insurance company fraud) a follow-up should be carried out in order to find the evidence proving that the claimant is capable of performing actions that contradict the claim of disability. Of course, if this is well documented, it carries more weight in a court of law.

7. Searches and analysis

Every private detective will have access to advanced databases and detailed information. Private investigators may find information through an advanced Google search, digital scanners and so many more ways. Many ways they use would be difficult for the general public to have access to. These investigative skills and tools ensure the case is solved and won.

For further information on private investigation, please contact us here -

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