Private detectives, a.k.a private investigators, private eye, covert spy, secret agent or CI, is someone who can hire people, groups or NGOs to take on investigative investigations. Private detectives often work as private investigators for lawyers in criminal and civil cases. Private detectives are also recruited by government agencies to serve in various sensitive capacities like protecting the nation from international terrorists, spies and sabotageists. They carry out secret operations for government officials to protect the nation from infiltration by hostile elements. In short, private detectives are people whose services one can hire at the drop of a hat.
A private detective may either choose to engage in ‘home surveillance’ or ‘off-site’ surveillance. ‘Home surveillance’ involves activities like monitoring telephone conversations, computer use and grooming of employees, usage of sensitive information, monitoring vehicles and examining the target’s house, properties and vehicles. ‘Off-site surveillance’ involves activities like inspecting public places, offices, banks and other financial institutions, airports, private homes and trucks.
In order to find employment in the field of investigation, aspiring private investigators should have good qualifications. The minimum educational qualification required for private detectives is a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some states also require a security guard certification or a state security guard license. Usually aspiring private investigators undergo two sets of background checks – one when they apply for jobs and one when they are actually employed. Private investigators should be prepared to submit to a thorough credit check on their own and another background check upon becoming employees.
Private surveillance is not only used to gather evidence and information about people. In fact, many private investigators must use surveillance in order to gather intelligence about potential legal arguments, asset seizure, litigation, bankruptcies, to locate people wanted on warrants, to gather evidence against business rivals or competitors, to monitor a spouse’s cheating and drug use or for any other reason that requires solid proof before a law enforcement official can arrest, prosecute or restrain. The main purpose of surveillance is to gather evidence and protect the rights and privacy of others.
Private detectives often work independently while working on cases independently or as an adjunct to other law enforcement agencies. They do not report to supervisors or to police officers. However, they must follow guidelines and laws regulating interactions with the general public and working closely with law enforcement officials. Most surveillance involves surveillance of a specific person or persons. Surveillance is often done by telephone or by video cameras.
Private detectives investigate a wide range of topics including criminal behavior, business practices, litigation, sex crimes, theft, missing persons, frauds and other crimes. They often specialize in one or more areas of investigation. Private detectives are specialized in locating missing people. They often use special equipment and devices to track down missing persons. They perform investigations into vehicle accidents, auto thefts and frauds. They even investigate murder cases.
Another area in which private detectives help is to provide celebrity protection. They investigate computer crimes and provide advice about online safety. They monitor credit reports, identify phishing attempts and monitor suspicious activities on the Internet. They also frequently advise businesses about safety issues on the Internet and help them address those issues. They monitor computers used by children to surf the web and they advise parents about the dangers of allowing their children unsupervised time on the Internet.
Many detectives operate surveillance equipment and computer programs for a living. Businesses and corporations hire such detectives to monitor their employees, customers and business transactions. Detectives can even use hidden video cameras to obtain evidence against employees and customers suspected of fraud and theft. In short, detectives gather information to provide information that can lead to solving crimes, providing evidence to law enforcement officials and assisting the victims of crimes.