top of page

Surveillance Investigation

What Is Surveillance?


Surveillance is the close observation of a person, place, or object. It is the practice of watching a subject in order to document the interactions or whereabouts of the subject.

When Is Surveillance Used
  • Person locate cases and searches for missing persons

  • Cheating spouses

  • Loss prevention and recurrent theft

  • Worker compensation cases

  • Vandalism

  • Fraud investigations

  • Criminal investigations

  • Misconduct in the workplace

  • And more...

Common Types of Surveillance


There are a variety of ways to carry out surveillance, including the use of electronics, physical observation, conducting interviews, and using technology. 




Technical Surveillance encompasses digital photography, video/audio recordings, wiretapping, and monitoring or examining an individual’s use of their phones, email, and social media.

Physical Observation


Physical Observation is when investigators physically follow or watch a subject. This can potentially involve disguises, stakeouts, trailing the movements of individuals and vehicles, aireal surveillance, and the use of multiple investigators.



Interviews are conducted by investigators to discover as much information as possible about a subject person or the cirumstances for which the inestigator was hired. The people interviewed could include family members, neighbors, friends, employees, coworkers, employers and business partners.

Surveillance Methods


Along with types of surveillance, there are different tactics used by investigators in order to obtain information.

Overt vs. Covert


An example of an overt investigation includes the use of visible security cameras such as those used in stores to deter customers from stealing. Covert investigation, however, is undetected, like an undercover detective trailing a subject or the use of hidden cameras.


Mobile vs. Stationary


Mobile investigations involve investigators following their subjects, whether on foot, in a vehicle, or in an aircraft. Unmanned drone aircraft is becomeing increasingly popular for mobile surveillance. A stationary investigation, on the other hand, involves remaining in one location, which could include watching the subject from a parked car for example.

Mechanical vs. Human


A mechanical investigation is the use of video cameras, voice recorders, and other such equipment. A human investigation is when a member of the investigative team is a direct source of information.

Why Conduct Surveillance?


  • To prevent crime

  • To obtain evidence of a crime

  • To obtain evidence in civil suits

  • To document an individual's location

  • To document activities in/around a location

  • To obtain information for interrogation purposes

  • To obtain information to be used in court

  • And many others...

With prevalent issues like marital infidelity, employee dishonesty, and crime, surveillance is one way you can stay informed and protect yourself. It gives you the facts and proof you need about the people you trust with your home, children, money, your business ventures, and your life.

How Surveillance Works

  • An investigator will get to know the client first, delving into their desires and expectations for the investigation. This determines the depth and means of the study.


  • The investigator will then conduct an extensive background check for on the subject. Vital information includes the subject’s name, address, phone number, physical description, photograph, and local relatives. Their habits, hobbies, schedules, and coworkers are also important to note.


  • Next, an investigator will familiarize themselves with the area where the investigation will be taking place, usually via maps and pictures. Being familiar with the location during both the day and night will result in a more effective investigation.


  • An investigator will then decide on what equipment the particular case calls for and know how to most effectively use it. Some of this could be equipment specifically for investigators, like dash cameras or tinted windows, but also included are things as simple as a flashlight and a full tank of gas.


  • Preparing a plan specific for the case is an important aspect for an investigator. This means developing a reasonable explanation for being in the area and adjusting car and clothes in order to fit in as much as possible. In some instances, the private investigator will inform local law enforcement of his reasons being in a particular area in the event authorities receive a call about his presence.  


  • An investigator will then start investigating, keeping in mind common sense (like don’t let the subject make eye contact, don’t park conspicuously, and don’t walk by the house more than once).


  • During their investigation, the investigator will also take extensive notes, including dates and times, in order to report to both client and court the most accurate information as possible.

Why Should I Use a Private Investigator to Conduct Surveillance?


Privacy laws restrict the use of video and audio monitoring devices in certain instances. The professional investigtors at Midstate Security and Investigation are trained in current laws regarding the use of surveillance equipment. By using a Midstate investigator, you don’t have to worry about legal impediments and the potential for being sued for infringing on the privacy rights of someone. They also know how to most effectively conduct a surveillance discreetly.

Call Midstate Security and Investigations, LLC today for a free, no-obligation assessment of your needs.

bottom of page