Private Investigators & Surveillance

Many years ago, pulp magazines often advertised, alongside Charles Atlas body-building ads, mail-order courses that promised to teach people how to become a private eye.

While some of the course material wasn’t bad, considering its time period, one of the most amusing aspects came from one instruction book: When doing surveillance, the investigator should wear a black suit and hat so he would not attract attention.

Today, this sort of advice sounds laughable. Anyone lurking about in a black suit and hat would not only attract attention, but quite possible evoke a smile if not outright laughter.

Information about Houston Private Detectives

Today, all investigators have a marvelous amount of available information as far away as their computer screen. Of course, official sources, police, FBI, etc. have greater access to privileged information, Houston private investigators & detectives can learn an enormous amount on their computer in the privacy of their office or home. Sometimes if possible, having a friend in law enforcement can be helpful in accessing information.

While being a private eye seldom involves the adventures we see in movie theaters, the work can be interesting and satisfying.

Licensing for Private Investigators

Every state has its own regulations for obtaining a license to operate as a private investigator, however most areas allow the licensed private investigator to hire employees who work under the blanket license of their employer. For those who may be interested in this line of work, the initial mode of entry is to seek employment with a licensed private eye. Usually, most of this work is learn-as-you-go.

Surveillance & Private Eyes

An important aspect of investigative work is surveillance. Surveillance comes from the French, a word technically meaning to keep an eye on something or someone. And that’s exactly what the word means to us today.

While there are many different aspects to the job of being a private eye, one of the more common and one that must be done correctly is surveillance.

Frequently the private eye finds it expedient to follow a subject, wait, sometimes for long periods of time, while the subject remains inside an apartment or other building that is closed to the investigator, and then, when the subject exits the building, the private eye will resume “tailing” the subject, eventually returning to his office or home to write up a report.

As an aside, being human, we all have to go the bathroom on occasion. For a private investigator, standing in a doorway for two or more hours on a rainy day, the need for relief can become serious. Usually, a prudent detective will keep an eye out for a nearby location where toilets may be available. When using a vehicle, many keep a large container handy, just in case.

A Good Surveillance Professional

Obviously while tailing a subject, the old black suit and hat idea would only alert the subject. When engaged in a fairly large and important investigation, most agencies will use more than one investigator to maintain a good surveillance. While one person alone may quickly be noticed, having three or more, changing sides of the street, altering their appearance by changing caps or wearing reversible jackets, etc. they can maintain a greater objection to the subject being able to spot them.

It is normally useful for at least one operator to ride in a vehicle when possible, in case the subject decides to take a taxi or other more rapid means of transport.

With today’s technology, it is possible for a private eye, during surveillance, to record the entire day through the use of cameras as well as his/her voice. Since every case may be different and a client may expect different results, the private investigator will adjust his/her method of operation, including surveillance to suit.

Surveillance doesn’t always mean following a subject. The subject may work in a store or office. The challenge for the private eye here would be to manage to watch the subject while at work without becoming obvious. Again, more than operative would be most desirable.

While being a private eye may not always be as glamorous with frightened beautiful blonde women bursting into the office as on film, it can be a rewarding business for those who enjoy this sort of work. One down-side to this business, at least for some, is the possibility that a private investigator may be required to work as an employee in a business in order to befriend and eventually betray a fellow employee. Working undercover can be a harrowing experience, but in the end, the private eye doesn’t have to accept every job that is offered.

Houston Private Investigator: Surveillance

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