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Modern Day Private Investigators and Technology

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It might be the 21st century, but when it comes to private investigators, many people still don’t quite know what to expect. Movies depict private investigators either as angry individuals working out of seedy offices, or someone who is on the run from some pretty bad characters (cue explosions and car chase scenes).

The truth is, a private investigator’s life is a lot less exciting in real life. The job requires a lot of patience, determination and in many cases, persistence to solve a case. In today’s modern and more technologically driven world, a private investigator needs to adapt to these changes. If they don’t, they risk their career and any job opportunities that might pop up.

Therefore, a modern day private investigator must have the following technology related skills:

  • Communication
  • Social Media
  • Surveillance Technologies
  • Leadership Roles
  • Modern Global Perspective

Communication Skills

As is the case with most industries today, a private investigator must have good communication skills. It is no longer common to use bullying sales tactics or to keep information hidden from clients. A modern private investigator must prove to their client that they can get the information they need to do the job right.

For example, if a private investigator asks a potential client the wrong questions, the case will go unsolved. If the private investigator pressures the client to spend more money, or gives them a quote only to tack on additional charges later, the client will never want those services again.

A modern private investigator’s communication skills tend to go hand in hand with the use of a computer. If a private investigator does not know how to use a computer in this day and age, it’s a pretty clear sign that he or she is stuck in the past. The reason for this is they can create better and more accurate reports. They can also communicate to their clients via email.

Social Media

It’s no secret that social media is a modern technology that almost everyone uses every day. Apps like, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, etc. have millions of users across the globe. These users check in at least once a day, if not more. These users also post a ton of public information that a private investigator can use to their advantage.  

From photos to a written post, it is easy for a private investigator to use social media to track down a missing person, or uncover hidden assets. That being said, a private investigator needs to know how to use social media. A private investigator can’t just set up their own profile, start using it and think that they will crack the case. Social media is something that a private investigator must know how to use with great care. Otherwise, the suspect will catch on, which will compromise the case.

Surveillance Technologies

Compared to ten or even twenty years ago, surveillance technologies have greatly changed the private investigation landscape in North America. Where video surveillance technologies left a private investigator squinting at pixelated shapes, even home surveillance equipment now presents clear images.

Photographic technologies have also significantly changed. Most smartphones have cameras that rival handheld digital ones. With the general public taking photos all the time (selfies, etc.) it makes it even easier for a private investigator to take a picture during their investigation.

For example, let’s say that a private investigator is conducting surveillance on someone who claims he cannot work due to an injury. That private investigator notices the individual leaves their home at 5:00 am on a Sunday. When the private investigator follows the individual, they might use their cellphone to record him or her from a discreet distance. The private investigator will also likely take a few photos. Using a large, outdated telephoto lens in this situation would only draw attention to the private investigator.  

Good private investigators will always make sure to keep up on the latest gadgets. With new equipment out on the market every month, it’s critical for a private investigator to know what to use and when to use it—especially when it comes to surveillance.

Leadership Roles

Better technology also means that a private investigator can work with a larger team. Together, a group of well-trained private investigators can tackle larger cases.

For example, let’s say that a company approaches a private investigation agency. Someone has stolen $500K worth of product from the company, and the company wants the private investigation agency to find out who did the crime. This particular case isn’t small, which means that the private investigation agency requires many private investigators to help.

A private investigator in this situation is required to come up with a plan and inform their team. The team then needs to work together to solve the case. In our example above, the team needs to find $500K in missing product. If the private investigator in charge can’t organize his or her team with the right equipment and technology, the job just won’t get done.

Modern Global Perspective

With the invention of the airplane and more modern ways of travel, it has become incredibly easy for most people to travel the world. As a result, it has also become incredibly easy for individuals to open offshore accounts, or even lie to their spouse about a convention when they’re really headed to the Bahamas with a lover.

A modern private investigator is required to think outside the box and know all the tricks of the trade. They need to know about new technologies because they connect us at a global level. It’s not just about what happens in a small town.

Choosing the Right Private Investigator

If you call up a private investigator that still works out of his or her car, with a video recorder that looks like it might be from the 1990’s, you might want to think twice!

Technology is such a large part of our day to day lives. It only makes sense that a private investigator needs to keep up. If they don’t, they will only continue to earn a bad reputation, when in reality, a private investigator can truly help to improve lives.

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