Selecting a Private Investigator for Surveillance

Regardless of where you are, the investigator you hire can have lasting effects on your particular case. Choosing the wrong private investigator for video surveillance based on the price alone may expose you to scrutiny by your partner, your business associate or legal representative, targeting the competence of the hired investigators.

To avoid these pitfalls and more we have put together 4 questions we recommend asking any investigator that you are considering hiring for video surveillance.

1. Ask For A Copy of Their State Issued Private Investigators License

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Ensure that they are licensed in the State in which you intend to hire them. Don’t be afraid to confirm with the State that the investigation firm you are looking to hire is in good standing and have the correct licensing. Most states have the ability to check the registration of the business online, as long as you have the licence number. It is a legal requirement for any investigation firm or sole operator to list their licence number on their website. Before contacting them check the validity of the licence with the relevant authorities.

2. Ask If the Private Investigators Surveillance Videos Have a Date & Time Stamp

Make sure that your investigator’s videos are authenticated with a date and time stamp on every scene. If there is no date and time stamp the video is less likely to be admitted as evidence into court, and will be of no value to you. It amazes me how often I still see videos with no date or time stamp on them. Current digital technology with time and date stamps can be tricky so make sure you get what you are paying for.

3. Ask The Private Investigator You Are Hiring What Type Of Plan They Would Implement For Your Specific Surveillance Scenario.

Present the facts of your case to the private investigator and ask for a surveillance strategy. Every surveillance job is different, and your potential video surveillance expert should have no problem sharing their ideas with you about they plan to achieve surveillance success on your behalf. An investigator specializing in video surveillance should have good rationale in their approach to your case. The strategy should be logical and based on the facts of the case resulting in an efficient and effective plan to achieve the desired objectives. For an experienced investigator this should be quite straightforward.

4. Ask How Much Your Private Investigator Charges – Be Wary Of the Cheapest Price

You know the old adage – you get what you pay for.

The two investigator formula is a formula for success. After obtaining video the next most important thing is avoiding being caught out by the subject. Years of experience in the field often correlate to an increase in the price of surveillance. It is worth the extra money to assure that you are hiring a veteran investigator(s) that knows how to avoid being detected. A private detective is not invisible and relies on experience and common sense to blend in with his surroundings, and not take chances that would risk blowing open a discreet investigation.

Once the surveillance is comprised and a subject is aware they have been followed by an investigator you can never follow that person again without them looking over their shoulder limiting all future success. Two private investigators covering every possible exit, mode of transportation and the ability to follow long, short or quick and frequent stops is the best strategy for conducting video surveillance undetected, allowing for multiple attempts and increasing your chance for success.

Going with the cheapest price in the beginning may end up costing you twice as much in the end.

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