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art1-10-15It has been said that one of the most crucial skills an investigator can possess is a methodical attention to detail during surveillance operations. A former FBI agent, who spent many years conducting surveillance on Soviet spies once remarked, “Anything worth watching is worth watching closely.” Consequently, he had a habit of always keeping his binoculars close at hand. This one surveillance strategy has proven to be the difference between disappointment and success.

The objective of surveillance is to follow someone in order to determine his or her activities without the target’s knowledge. Many individuals have watched an episode of CSI, Law and Order, or Criminal Minds, and it is rare that one of these TV detectives loses their surveillance target. In reality, however, intervening factors beyond the control of the investigator—and there are a myriad of them—often lead to loss of the subject. How the investigator uses available information and responds to losing a subject can alter the result of the entire investigation. Paying attention to the person’s attire and/or accessories can prove to be critical to the investigation.

In one particular case, several years ago, the investigative team lost their subject in heavy morning traffic, not far from her home. However, one of the two investigators assigned to the project reacted in time, focused his binoculars on her, and noted that she was carrying a gym bag as she walked to her car. Furthermore, he caught a quick glimpse of a tennis racket handle protruding from the bag.

As a result of the sighting, and this investigator’s keen eye, one of the team members was able to canvass the area for facilities with tennis courts while the other investigator remained near the target’s home. Fortuitously, the woman’s car was spotted at a YMCA less than two miles from the home. The other investigator then joined up and the team succeeded in following her from the YMCA to a location that proved to be of enormous interest and significant benefit to the client. The subject’s destination after leaving the YMCA was the most relevant discovery during four successive days of coverage.

Admittedly, it was a stroke of luck to find the car after losing it in traffic. However, had the investigator on the case not paid attention to the details and reached for his binoculars, the gym bag and tennis racket may not have been observed. Sometimes, a conveniently placed set of binoculars, a quick hand, and an eye for details can produce its own luck.

All investigators at ResultQuest®, Inc. have been trained to always be attentive to the small details that can provide you a superior position. If you want a seasoned, capable surveillance team, call us at (713) 781-9040.