Call Us

Welcome to 2020: How Private Investigators Adapt to Modern Challenges

Posted on

Welcome to 2020: How Private Investigators Adapt to Modern Challenges

It’s 2020 and the dawn of a new decade. Like many industries in North America, the private investigation has seen its fair share of changes over the last ten years. Some private investigators might say that these changes have been very dramatic. One of the major differences in how private investigators have had to adapt to modern challenges. 

Private Investigators of the Past

The industry of private investigation has really changed over the last ten to fifteen years. It’s no longer acceptable to run a private investigation agency that doesn’t deliver results. For example, many private investigators ran operations from a rundown office (or even their vehicle). These private investigators cared more about earning a quick buck by any means necessary than their clients. This also meant that many private investigators of the past didn’t care about using modern technology or tools either! Many would even make up or plant evidence to trick a client into thinking (and paying) more than they bargained for. 

In addition, private investigators used to be mostly men. This has also changed in a big way over the last ten to fifteen years. Women make excellent private investigators. In fact, in Canada and the United States more and more female private investigators are taking private investigation training. These women are earning their license and starting their own private investigation agencies. The competition is fierce, which only means that in order to survive you really do need to be the best. 

New Client Markets and Market Demand

When talking about private investigation today, many people still assume that hiring a private investigator means that your marriage is in trouble. While private investigators can help with cheating spouses, today’s demand requires a private investigator to have all sorts of investigative skills. Some of these skills include,

Background Checks

Let’s take a look at an example of why a private investigator might run a background check. Government organizations need to know that the employee they hire doesn’t have a criminal record. Many will hire a private investigator to run these background checks. The reason for this is because a private investigator will provide a thorough and detailed report on an individual. Other agencies might only do a surface-level check—or no background check at all. Modern companies across Ontario look to private investigators for help with their background checks to ensure they do not hire the wrong employee. 

Locates – Missing Product

In recent years, there’s also been a significant rise in e-commerce companies in North America. These companies include individuals (or a small group of individuals) who own their own shops and ship out goods to their paying customers. Unfortunately, companies that provide goods and services must at one point or another, deal with theft. For example, let’s say that some of a company’s product is stored in warehouses. If improperly monitored, leaving product in storage makes it easier for theft to occur. It’s also possible for that product to get ‘lost in transit’. In other words, stolen on route for delivery. Other scams include the purchase of large quantities of product. The product is then delivered, with only half or a partial payment made. The scammer then disappears, with the product, and leaves the company with the rest of the bill. 

Modern private investigators have seen it all. It also means that a private investigator in 2020 must be aware of all the possible ways in which assets can disappear. 

Locates – Missing Persons

People go missing all the time. This fact hasn’t changed over the last decade. What has changed is the reasons why a private investigator is hired to find a missing person. Unfortunately, the police force is often overwhelmed with cases. These cases include missing persons. Private investigators in 2020 are often hired to help find a missing family member, relative, friend or even someone who owes a lot of money (and has skipped town). A good private investigator will focus on finding the individual. A modern private investigator will typically find that individual sooner rather than later. 

Adapting to Modern Technologies

In the past decade, technology has made some serious leaps and bounds in terms of how we live our lives. Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops are some of the most powerful tools that we can buy. A private investigator in 2020 must continuously learn about these new technologies in order to keep up with the different ways in which he or she can catch a criminal. These new technologies include, 

Social Media Monitoring

Compared to ten years ago, so much of our daily activities take place online. Whether it is marketing work, or day-to-day emails, so much information is available and passed along via computers and the Internet. As this is the case, a modern private investigator must know about and understand how to use this technology. Why? Well, he or she can get hired to monitor an individual’s behavior online for things like acts of terrorism and other criminal activities. 

Without this knowledge, a private investigator is missing out on a huge market. After all, companies like Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites just don’t have the capacity to sift through this kind of information. In recent years, social media and other forums have made attempts to tackle things like online bullying and inappropriate posts. However, it’s extremely challenging to catch everything. This is where a modern private investigator comes in. He or she can target and find individuals with malicious intent. This is a modern skill that is only going to come in handy over the next decade as the rise in cyber attacks on country security is only estimated to increase. 

Bugs and Wires

You’ve seen it in movies and even on your favourite spy television shows: an agent breaks into someone’s hotel room and puts a bug in the telephone. Other scenarios might include putting a GPS tracker in an individual’s car or wiring someone up with a microphone to get a confession from a crime boss. All of these situations include bugs and wires. For a private investigator working in 2020, knowing the modern ways in which people use bugs and wires is a critical part of the job. 


It is now possible to purchase a surveillance camera online. These surveillance cameras are so tiny, that it is extremely difficult to spot one unless you know it’s there. Many people order, setup, and use these cameras to monitor their homes from intruders. Other people use these cameras to try and catch thieves from stealing packages and mail. While these people feel that they are doing something to help protect themselves and their property, many don’t know the laws and legal implications of setting up surveillance. A modern private investigator, on the other hand, is trained to know what they can or cannot do when it comes to surveillance.  

The challenge with surveillance is that in a lot of places, it is illegal to record someone without his or her knowledge. It might be enough to catch that thief on camera, but then what? How do you stop that person from robbing you again? If obtained illegally, it will not be possible to use your evidence in court. It is for this reason that modern private investigators keep up to date on legal means of obtaining evidence. A private investigator can help you to catch the thief and get the evidence you need to take your case to court. 

Private Investigators in 2020 and Beyond

With all the changes private investigators have seen over the last ten years, it’s expected that the industry will see many in the years to come. Public safety and an increase in cyber attacks will only drive these changes throughout the rest of the decade. It is up to private investigators to adapt to modern times and keep up with the changes. Adapting to these modern challenges will only help to keep our communities safe in 2020 and beyond. 

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *