Mobile surveillance techniques vary among private investigators depending on their resources, the subject of their surveillance and the investigator’s personal preferences. Although the specifics may vary there are five common practices used by successful private investigators.
1. Gather advance intelligence information about the subject and subject vehicle - License plate, addresses for home and work, photo’s of distinguishing features of the subject vehicle, maps of subject’s neighborhood and workplace, scouting areas in advance where the subject is likely to visit are all critical advance intelligence that you need before beginning the surveillance. Use an online map program to “drive” the areas where you are most likely to encounter the subject.
2. Stock your vehicle with all the necessary supplies before starting the mobile surveillance - back-up camera batteries, cell phone charger, voice recorder, snacks and other essential items. There is nothing worse than realizing you left an important piece of equipment at the office when you are out on a mobile surveillance. Again, back-up batteries and chargers for all your electronic devices you may need.
3. Maintain visual contact with the subject at all times - easier said than done, but maintaining constant visual contact by staying in close proximity to the subject ensures you do not lose them in traffic. In heavy traffic conditions close the distance. In light traffic conditions increase your distance from the subject.
4. Take detailed notes during the surveillance - use a voice recorder, preferably one that timestamps your recording, to make verbal notes throughout the surveillance so you can retrace or identify the location of critical camera video.
5. Drive safely and obey the traffic laws - Whenever you are conducting mobile surveillance remember your duty to protect others. Obey traffic laws, drive defensively, and be aware of your surroundings. Speeding, making erratic maneuvers, or disobeying traffic signals could cause an accident ending your surveillance.
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