We want to thank a good friend and fellow PI at JAG Investigations in Arizona who had a chance to help us out with a case. She is a great resource for other PIs and good person.
We had a client in Chicago who was concerned that nighttime video of her spouse and his girlfriend walking out of the girlfriends apartment at 2:10 am was not as clear and crisp as she expected. Despite the video clearly identifying him and the other kissing good bye, she expected it to look like it does in the movies. We are private investigators, not movie directors. The movies is just that, the movies. We are happy that she has the proof she needs to make the right choices in life but it is frustrating trying to compete with Hollywood.
What are the pros and cons of hiring one investigator vs. two?
When conducting surveillance, any private investigator will tell you that two investigators can do a better job, stay discreet longer and maintain pursuit longer. With cases in spots like New York City, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago and the like, the act of following someone in traffic can be a nightmare. An hours pursuit can end at a stop light. Construction traffic can hold up the private investigator who can only watch the target slip away. These are real issues that happen to us every day and they are not a function of skill, experience or motivation. Accordingly, we encourage anyone considering have spousal surveillance done to think about the area we will be operating in and the possibility of the problems we will encounter. Yes, it costs more to use two investigators, but paying more is better than not knowing whats really going on and being in pain.
A big problem that we see everyday is with “background check” companies that are nothing more than a clerk running a name through a database. These companies do nothing more than run whatever information you provide through the public records databases they know of and spit it out on paper. No judgement is rendered, no stones overturned to find more and yet they carry on about being accurate and reliable. A background check, at the minimum, requires thought and cross indexing. If you want any level of assurance about the person you are looking into, get a private investigator to do the job, not an information broker!
Bad news for those of you who want to use a “super instant search” company to try to be an internet detective. Instant on-line searches and “net spy” CDs are simply not worth the money or time. Everyone wants to save money and get things done quickly. The same would be true of people investigating infidelity. The reality is if these services or programs were of any value, like buggy whip manufacturers, the private investigator would disappear. These companies feed off of our desire to get cheap, instant info and they package there product as being able to deliver just that. The reality is that they actually give you old public record information or links to free sources of old public record information. A private investigator can get access to a great deal more information AND they supply professional judgement (in short they think about the results, not just spit them out). If you ended up using one of these services, don’t be sad. You didn’t know. But if you are reading this blog, chances are, you found out that the super instant search detective program didn’t get the information you needed.
Work…yes, this is a very common place for infidelity to germinate. So much so that we established an entire page of our website to discuss work affairs. The true problem for our clients facing this issue is; is the inappropriate behavior actually occurring inside the work place or not? When people are actually engaging in intercourse inside the office or business, it makes our job significantly more difficult, if not impossible. We recommend that you have the answer to this questions before you hire a private investigator.
For those of you who have a situation where computer monitoring may be a solution, we recommend that you not only review our web page about this topic, but we also recommend that you research the legality of this type of activity in your state. The laws regarding what is permitted and what is prohibited vary widely from state to state. Further, we are private investigators, not lawyers, and cannot give anything remotely like legal advice.
Although videotaping inside residences through windows is not a specifically prohibited act for private investigators in some states, we as a company have a policy against doing so. We feel that even if it is legal, it goes beyond what is necessary and is both invasive and in poor taste to do so. We bring this up because a client debated why we did not attempt to zoom in on our subject sitting inside a house. Private investigators, like any professionals, have ethical considerations like this. Although you may find a private investigator willing to do this, where allowed by law, we recommend that you avoid this type of behavior and stick with a PI who cares about the ethical considerations as we do.
Every private investigator conducting infidelity surveillance should have a hidden video camera with them and available to use at a moments notice. If your spouse goes inside a bar to meet someone, the private investigator should go inside and get footage of what’s going on in there, too. They should not be sitting inside the car waiting for them to leave! With the cost of hidden cameras being at an all time low, we cannot see why this equipment is not being used and we recommend that you stay away from any private investigator who does not have this type of equipment. One thing that is important to note is the fact that these miniature cameras do have limitations. They usually do not have much zoom capability and they do not work well in low light conditions (i.e. a bar that has very minimal lighting or a dance club that is mostly dark). Our Dallas private investigators had a real hard time this month getting good footage of a woman inside a large dance club because of lighting problems. We actually had to give the DJ a couple of bucks to put a spot light on our girl for 10 minutes while she was dirty dancing with her co-worker.
Like any profession, there are specialized Private Investigators. In the old days, you had a “lawyer”. Now we have “family law” lawyers, “collection attorneys”, “tax lawyers”, etc. etc. Private investigators are the same. We specialize in Spousal Surveillance and Infidelity investigations and shy away from areas like missing persons cases, product liability, accident reconstruction, etc. We do not hold a special license to conduct spousal surveillance, we simply focus all of our energy on this area (and got to quite good at it).