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Uses of Private Investigator Surveillance Equipment

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Feb 24, 2020
A job of a private investigator relies heavily on the use of sophisticated surveillance equipment. Here are some of the private investigator's tools of trade.
The word private investigator immediately conjures images of Hollywood actors in long coats and hats, smoking pipes, and waiting in their cars for their subject to appear. The subject appears out of nowhere, looks furtively around, and quickly slides in a car and drives off.
Then begins the exciting chase for capturing the subject in a compromising position by planting bugs and tracking devices here and there, to collect solid evidence against the perpetrator. The private investigator, with his uncanny idiosyncrasies and impressive dialogs, sure impresses the audience.
Unfortunately, real life private investigators often work far less dramatically, and, of course, without any background music. However, even our real life private investigators have to rely heavily on various surveillance equipment for the purpose of investigation and gathering evidence.

Types and Uses of Surveillance Equipment

Private investigators and other law enforcement officials make use of several equipment which allow them to work secretly, yet efficiently. The most important aspect of private investigation is maintaining maximum level of secrecy. If the subject gets suspicious, you might have to wind up the whole case, or worse, become a victim of counter-surveillance.
Hence, it is a must that you work in total invisibility. Here are some equipment that are often used by people in this field. Private investigator training acquaints you with various surveillance techniques, and also provides a guidance regarding use of these tools.

Tracking Devices

A tracking device, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), is of great help to private investigators in tracking the whereabouts of their subject. These devices are often small enough to be fit under cars, inside coats, and in purses.
These devices send a digital signal which is received by a receiver at remote site. Thus, an investigator can keep a watchful eye on his subject while sitting in his office, car, or coffee shop.

Recording Devices

They come in very handy for gathering evidence. These devices are often in the form of small wireless microphones, which send a signal to a recording device. The devices can either be fit in rooms, on the body or clothing of subject.
Small listening devices, often called bugs, are also of great help to investigators. The very small size of these devices makes it possible for the undercover agent or investigator to work without invoking suspicion.


Private investigators use variety of cameras, such as digital cameras, conventional cameras, pinhole cameras, wireless spy cameras, and hi-tech cameras with zoom lenses.
If the investigator is required to view a subject or event from a very large distance, then it makes sense to invest in a large camera with zoom lenses.
The size of this camera makes it difficult to shoot the subject from smaller distance. However, its high-definition features may capture the subject with more detail. A pinhole camera can be used during a face to face encounter with the subject.

Bug Detectors

This system is very powerful in alerting the investigator if he is himself under surveillance. A bug detector detects the tracking, and/or bugging devices within the prescribed perimeter of the device, and alerts the investigator about the presence of counter-surveillance devices.

Night Vision Equipment

Private investigators work at odd hours, hence, the equipment they use must be compatible with darkness. Special nighttime equipment allow the investigator to work with same efficiency during any time of the day.
Apart from these, the investigator must also have access to various software and online databases, so that his job becomes easier. Specific task-related investigation kits can also be of help to private investigators.