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Surveillance in Private Investigations: What You Need to Know!

At its core, surveillance is a critical tool used in most Private Investigations in which highly skilled operatives closely observe a person, scene, or object (such as a vehicle) to gather answers about their activity and movement. But the versatility of surveillance measures is not to be underestimated; surveillance can be used in a variety of investigations and can encompass a broad array of tactics including digital and technical surveillance, interviewing, and GPS tracking, to name a few. The underlying goal of any surveillance operation is to gather accurate, high-quality visual evidence supporting or refuting the question at hand.

Many surveillance operations will begin with an in-depth background check to map out locations of where the subject may be, and when. Once in the field, Private Investigators rely upon state-of-the-art photography and recording equipment to gather the necessary visual evidence. There are many options for capturing high-quality photography and video evidence, including dashcams, mini cameras that can be easily concealed, and digital SLR cameras, which can take up to 60 shots per second and can be fitted with zoom lenses to obtain sharp photos from a distance. The equipment used within any given surveillance investigation will vary based upon the goals of the investigation, the setting, and the level of discretion required.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at three scenarios in which surveillance measures are most commonly used, and how the approach and tools used can differ for each.

Spousal & Partner Surveillance

Relationship and Infidelity Investigations are complex, emotionally charged matters, and often the concerned partner has carried the heavy burden of suspicion long before they have finally decided to seek professional services. For this reason, we are committed to finding our clients the answers and clarity they deserve as quickly as possible. The good news is that, with a skilled team of Surveillance Operatives on your side, the truth is typically brought to light sooner than you may think possible.

These discreet surveillance operations involve covertly observing and following the individual believed to be engaging in adultery, collecting the necessary 4K video or photography evidence to prove these accusations. The surveillance may be mobile, with undercover Private Investigators stationed in a vehicle or moving by foot, or a fixed camera may be discreetly affixed within a public location frequented by the subject. Any professionally gathered video or photography evidence can be used within a legal court proceeding, including for the purposes of divorce or child custody.

More often than not, surveillance within an Infidelity Investigation will gather more than just instances of cheating, revealing other questionable behaviors including drug use, gambling, or frequenting massage parlors and strip clubs.

Spousal & Partner Surveillance in Practice

  • Video and GPS evidence captured a director of a publishing company cheating on his wife with a company employee while claiming to be out of town on business trips.
  • A 2-day surveillance operation revealed video and photography evidence of our client’s wife doing drugs and committing adultery with her personal trainer.

Business & Corporate Surveillance

Some common goals of Business or Corporate Investigations are to reveal instances of fraud, white/blue-collar crime, partnership investigations, competitive intelligence, and violation of non-compete agreements. All of these can use surveillance operations as a means of gathering the necessary intel.

Corporate Investigations are complex, sensitive, and confidentiality is paramount. Because of this complex nature, these investigations are highly customized to the scope and size of the business, the budget, and the unique circumstances at hand. When surveillance measures are utilized for Corporate Investigation purposes, state of the art recording equipment may be discreetly installed within the workplace itself, or an undercover operative can be planted within the organization. If the investigation centers around a potential partner, executive, or employee, mobile surveillance measures can be used to follow their movement and capture evidence of activity that may impact your business, directly or indirectly.

Evidence collected through these corporate surveillance operations can be used to provide attorneys or businesses with the necessary evidence to build a strong case, avoid a devastating settlement, or prevent future losses.

Corporate Surveillance in Practice

  • Photography and video evidence captured an ex-employee working for a direct competitor, in breach of his signed non-compete agreement.
  • An undercover surveillance embezzlement operation revealed that a high-level executive and the company’s accountant had been working together, creating a fake vendor account, supplying false bills to the company, and keeping the payment for personal gain.

Workplace Surveillance

Workplace Surveillance operations generally involve the monitoring of employees, either as a reactive measure should questionable activity be suspected, or a proactive measure to ensure operations are functioning optimally. In some cases, a workplace investigation may be requested in response to a human resource-related concern, as a means of objectively securing evidence of sexual harassment, WSIB fraud, abuse of expense accounts, or lying to superiors/customers.

Depending on the goal of the investigation, workplace surveillance can take place on workplace premises with fixed or undercover surveillance measures, or through covert mobile surveillance operations following an employee in question.

Workplace Surveillance in Practice

  • Video evidence captured an employee on disability leave with a broken leg swimming in his family pool
  • Photographed evidence and witness testimonials revealed that a warehouse employee had been repeatedly stealing from inventory

Investigations of any sort within a business setting must be approached carefully, by credible and experienced experts in workplace and corporate investigations. If employees feel like they are being unjustly tracked or monitored by their employer, it can erode trust, increase job dissatisfaction, and heighten levels of stress within an already volatile situation. Working with a trusted, experienced, and licensed Private Investigation Firm will help guarantee that your surveillance measures are effectively targeted, discreet, confidential, and are performed within the realm of law without infringing on the privacy rights of your employees.

Reach out to Toronto’s Surveillance experts at Star Quality Private Investigations to learn more about how we can be your eyes on the ground, securing the answers you need, want, and deserve.

Star Quality Private Investigations