Surveillance

Keeping tabs on an individual's activities without being discovered is an art form and a critical aspect of the investigator's repertoire. Some investigators can do it well, others can't. Successful surveillance investigators, whether doing mobile, fixed or on-foot surveillance, must be able to blend into the background of the surroundings and observe and record activities (video) without being noticed by the subject. This requires a great deal of practice and experience and, at Parrent Smith Investigtions, we only use licensed investigators with the experience and skill needed for the job. Our investigators, who have spent years refining the art of the "tail" are also equipped with state of the art equipment to complement their skills.

Surveillance of an individual's activities is used in many types of investigations. In family law investigations, for example, surveillance can be useful not just to investigate suspicions of infidelity, but also to establish facts in custody disputes, including answering questions such as:

  • Is the parent who has custody driving with the children in the car while under the influence? Or are they driving in a dangerous manner that puts the children at risk, i.e. at high speeds or dangerously changing lanes and tailgating?
  • Are the children being left unattended?
  • Are the children being left with person unknown to the parent?


Surveillance can also be very useful as an adjunct to financial and financial fraud investigations, particularly when an individual is suspected of hiding assets. We can follow the subject to their bank or to a meeting with a hitherto unknown business partner or business enterprise, giving us leads on where money is coming from or where it might be hidden.

With the advent of GPS Tracking, a new tool has been added to the investigator's arsenal but it can only be deployed in certain circumstances. California Law, (specifically, Penal Code Section 637.7), states that non-law enforcement agencies can only use an electronic tracking device "when the registered owner, lessor, or lessee of a vehicle has consented to the use of the electronic tracking device with respect to that vehicle." In a family law situation this means that either spouse, provided they are on the title, can consent to have the unit placed on the vehicle and that the other spouse does not have to give specific consent.

GPS Tracking, even when it is legal to use it, is not a substitute for physical surveillance but rather a way to get better results from surveillance. We call it "GPS assist" - because in situations such as dense city traffic where it is difficult to follow without losing the subject at a stoplight or following too close and being noticed by a suspicious subject, a GPS tracker can help the surveillance investigator maintain contact with the subject. This ultimately saves the client money by making the surveillance time more effective.

Please don't hesitate to call if you feel surveillance could help in your situation. Our investigators have followed people on foot, in a car, in a plane and a boat - so if you need to know what someone is doing, we will find out.

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