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Surveillance Methods and Equipment

When it comes to the act of surveillance, most people think that it begins and ends with cameras, but the fact is that the world of surveillance extends much further into this, covering a number of covert operations. The art of surveillance covers a number of key disciplines. Let’s show you a number of methods, and how equipment can play a key part in an investigation.

The Different Types of Surveillance

Surveillance covers so many aspects, whether to help people with fraud or even unpaid child support. Surveillance is there to provide extensive information allowing the person initiating the investigation to come to a conclusion based on the evidence presented. There are different methods of surveillance that cover a number of practices, including the following: 

Electronic Surveillance

This is the most commonly used tool in investigations. Covering a wide variety of electronic devices, from GPS tracking to cameras, electronic surveillance is a method many organizations would use to observe somebody over a long period of time. 

Technical Surveillance

In the professional working world, technical surveillance can utilize a number of different types of equipment to document conversations and behavior. This is especially useful when it comes to cases involving absenteeism or employee sickness. 


A logical extension of technical and electronic surveillance, observation is a very common type of surveillance as it can be used to ascertain a number of behavioral quirks and is especially useful when someone hires a private investigator to determine if a partner is cheating. An investigator commonly uses a variety of settings ensuring that the final report is as comprehensive as possible. 

The Methods of Surveillance

Overt and Covert Surveillance

A covert operation is when someone is operating and must remain undetected. This becomes useful in a scenario such as a cheating spouse. The investigator needs to remain unseen to gather the relevant information. 

Overt surveillance would involve installing technical equipment such as CCTV and security systems. Other such components being used in covert and overt surveillance more often are drones, which are particularly useful in certain environments, such as a public setting where other drones are being used. It’s also beneficial during the night if a cheating spouse is venturing out and the investigator is not able to immediately catch up with them. 

Stationary and Mobile Surveillance

Any investigation would cover both of these aspects of surveillance. It may be necessary for the investigator to be stationary in one place for a certain period of time to gather the necessary information. They may need to follow a subject on foot or by vehicle, which is known as mobile surveillance. 

These methods of surveillance will differ depending on the unique case and the results required. Many investigators use a variety of different types of surveillance because this guarantees to get a diverse collection of evidence. 

Mechanical and Human Surveillance

Both of these aspects are particularly useful in professional environments. For example, if somebody catches another employee stealing outside of the business premises, this can be classed as human surveillance if it leads to a comprehensive investigation of that employee’s behavior. Mechanical surveillance can cover numerous technical approaches such as a camera or a drone with a camera attached to it. 

How Surveillance Is Conducted

When somebody is looking for help from a private investigator, it’s important to remember that surveillance covers a number of disciplines, from human to mechanical, technical, and overt or covert approaches. The overall case will depend on a number of initial factors including the evidence provided to the investigator. 

The initial approach will rely on providing evidence and information to the investigator. Once a surveillance package is agreed upon, the investigation will begin by determining the best way to use surveillance with the necessary methods and equipment that aims to gather the relevant information as quickly as possible. It’s vital to remember that in any situation, a private investigator will have a number of techniques at their disposal which aim to make the investigation as quick and comprehensive as possible.

As investigations demand a number of approaches, technology becomes crucial to the overall investigation. However, it is the type of surveillance needed that will determine the relevant equipment. We are all aware that surveillance can be conducted effectively through equipment, such as cameras but as surveillance becomes more sophisticated, this is where technology like drones can make a big difference to the outcome of an investigation. However, a solid investigation that brings about the right results does not rely on tech alone. It demands that the right investigator use the best tools to bring about the right results.

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