What is a Surveillance Investigator?

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Discover what it takes to become a surveillance Investigator.

Have you ever been intrigued by the work of a surveillance investigator? For many people, being an investigator evokes thoughts of fast-paced detective work seen in the movies and television. While this can be true in some cases, there is much more to the job than just apprehending bad guys; surveillance investigators play a critical role in criminal justice investigations by utilizing various forms of data collection and analysis techniques to identify major facts that drive their findings. This post will provide an overview of what it means to be a surveillance investigator, as well as the skills needed for success. If you are interested in beginning a career as a surveillance investigator or already have experience working within this field, use this post to gain further insight into the profession’s requirements and expectations.

How do you become a surveillance investigator?

Becoming a surveillance investigator can require different levels of education and training depending on the jurisdiction in which one works. Generally, law enforcement officers may be able to transition into this role with minimal additional training or certification. For those who are not already employed within the criminal justice system, many employers prefer applicants to hold a degree related to criminal law or investigation such as an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have specific certifications and qualifications that must be obtained before becoming a licensed private investigator.

Once all necessary paperwork has been completed and accepted by the state, it is important to know various laws and regulations about investigations to stay compliant while conducting them. Experience in law enforcement or other investigative roles can provide a helpful foundation for those looking to become a surveillance investigator.

Can you work under a company’s private investigator license to conduct surveillance?

Yes. However, most states require that a specific individual be identified and approved as the private investigator before they can conduct any surveillance operations. It is important to check with your local government offices to determine if this requirement applies in your jurisdiction. Additionally, some states may also require private investigators to complete certain educational requirements or pass a state-administered exam before being officially certified as an investigator.

Do you need to be certified or have training to be a surveillance investigator?

Yes, depending on the jurisdiction. As mentioned earlier, some states may require private investigators to have certain certifications or qualifications before they can legally conduct surveillance operations. Furthermore, it is important to be aware of any laws and regulations related to investigations so that you remain compliant during them. Additionally, having experience in law enforcement or other investigative roles can also provide a helpful foundation for those looking to become surveillance investigators.

What is mobile surveillance?

what is a surveillance investigator

Mobile surveillance is utilized when a subject is active and departs in a vehicle during an investigation. The private investigator then tails the subject in his vehicle and continues documenting the actions of the subject. In many instances, video surveillance is initiated with a digital camcorder while collecting evidence to document the subject actions. Experience plays a big part in being successful during mobile surveillance. The last thing the investigator wants to do is get compromised by the subject while tailing him. It is very difficult to have a successful investigation once the investigator gets compromised.

What skills do you need to be a surveillance investigator?

surveillance investigator

Surveillance investigators must possess a variety of skills to succeed. Having good observational skills, maintaining attention to detail, and being technologically proficient can all help surveillance investigators in their work. Surveillance investigators should also be able to remain calm under stress, think on their feet, and know when and where it is safe to conduct surveillance operations. Additionally, having interpersonal communication skills can also be a great advantage as successful investigations often involve talking with people or gathering information from different sources.

Do you need a vehicle to be an insurance claims surveillance investigator?

surveillance investigator

Yes, in most cases. Insurance claims surveillance investigators often need to follow up on leads and conduct investigations away from their office or home. Therefore, having access to a reliable vehicle is usually necessary for the successful performance of an investigation. However, some insurance companies may provide the investigator with a vehicle or reimburse them for mileage if they use their car. As always, it is important to check with your local government offices to determine what specific requirements need to be fulfilled before conducting any insurance claims surveillance operations in your jurisdiction.

Is there a certain type of vehicle that works best to ‘blend in’ for surveillance investigations?

Yes, certain types of vehicles can help surveillance investigators remain inconspicuous. For example, dark-colored sedans such as a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla tend to blend in more effectively than stand-out cars like sports cars or SUVs. Additionally, having tinted windows is often helpful in concealing the identity of the investigator during surveillance operations.

What are surveillance methods?

Surveillance methods refer to the various techniques used by surveillance investigators to collect and document evidence about a subject. Common methods include physical observation, video surveillance, and audio recording. Depending on the situation at hand, investigators may choose to employ different techniques to obtain the most accurate information possible.

What type of digital camcorder is recommended to conduct video surveillance?

private investigator

The type of digital camcorder that is recommended for video surveillance will depend on the situation and the budget of the investigator. Generally speaking, a high-end consumer-grade digital camcorder is usually sufficient to meet the needs of most investigators. However, if more detailed footage is required or if longer recording sessions are necessary, investing in a professional model may be beneficial. Additionally, it is important to make sure that any chosen camera has an infrared feature to not alert any potential subjects to its presence during nighttime operations.

Are mobile phones a good way to take covert video?

covert video

Yes! Mobile phones are often a great way to take covert video as they are small, lightweight, and easy to use. Many mobile phones today also come equipped with cameras that can record high-quality videos in both daylight and low-light conditions. Additionally, some models may even feature special features such as night vision or motion detection which can be useful while conducting surveillance operations.

Why is it so important for surveillance video taken by a surveillance investigator to have a time and date stamp in the video?

It is important for surveillance video taken by a surveillance investigator to have a time and date stamp in the recording as it serves as proof that the evidence was collected at the specified time. This can be very useful in court cases where timing is critical. Additionally, having an accurate timestamp in the video will protect investigators from any claims of tampering or falsifying evidence. Ultimately, having a time and date stamp ensures that all footage gathered during an investigation is valid and reliable.

What are raw video files?

Raw video files are unedited digital recordings of surveillance footage that have been taken by an investigator. These files often contain large amounts of data and can be used to review or store evidence. Raw video files may also contain metadata such as time and date stamps, which are important for establishing the validity of any evidence collected during investigations.

What is the best way to store digital surveillance video?

The best way to store digital surveillance video is by using an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system. An external hard drive will provide ample space for storing large amounts of data and is also relatively secure, as it is unlikely to be damaged if connected to a computer with malware or viruses installed on it. Cloud-based storage systems are also becoming increasingly popular amongst surveillance investigators, as they provide excellent security, scalability, and ease of access to all stored data.

Why do so many former police officers conduct criminal investigations?

Many former police officers have the knowledge and experience necessary to conduct criminal investigations. They often possess a deep understanding of different laws, regulations, and investigative techniques, which can be essential in uncovering evidence related to cases. Furthermore, their ability to interact with people from various backgrounds and cultures makes them well-suited for conducting investigations into criminal activities.

Does a surveillance investigator also perform background checks for background investigations?

Yes, a surveillance investigator may be asked to perform background checks and social media investigations for background investigations. This type of investigation involves the use of various sources such as public records, databases, and other resources to obtain information about an individual’s past or current activities. The investigator will then use this information to compile a comprehensive report which can be used by employers or other authorities to make decisions regarding a person’s eligibility for certain jobs.

Does a professional investigator collect evidence when conducting marital infidelity, interview witnesses, and identity theft investigations?

Yes, a professional investigator typically collects evidence and interviews witnesses when conducting marital infidelity, identity theft, and other investigations. This includes reviewing surveillance video to look for any suspicious activity or behavior which could prove valuable in the investigation.


In conclusion, a surveillance investigator is an expert who utilizes various methods such as digital recordings and background checks to uncover evidence related to criminal activity. They are often employed by law enforcement agencies and private investigators to conduct investigations into crimes such as identity theft, marital infidelity, insurance fraud, and other cases. By utilizing their knowledge and skills, surveillance investigators can help to bring justice to victims of criminal activity.

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