#48: 3 Surveillance Tips for the Holiday Season

Surveillance during the holiday season can be a daunting task with the pure amount of vehicles on the street.  It seems as if there is more traffic than ever the day after Thanksgiving.  You can improve your chances of staying with your subject and billing out the surveillance day by following or using some of these techniques.  I know this is a late holiday post, but it will still very much apply to a weekend surveillance.

Be more Aggressive when following your Subject

Being more aggressive means staying as close to your subject as possible.  This would mean trying to avoid having a buffer (vehicle or vehicles in between you and your subject).   Knowing that you will conducting mobile surveillance in this manner may require you to be less aggressive on your stationary surveillance position (your position with a view of their residence).

Personally I fair better when my vehicle is not in view of the subject’s residence.  Sometimes I have to take the chance of sacrificing activity at the residence to be able to conduct more aggressive moving automobile surveillance.

Park in Subject’s Vicinity when at a Mall or Shopping Center


If your subject arrives at a mall do you best to park with a view of the subject’s vehicle.  Do not wait to follow your subject in the mall.  You should be relatively right behind them as they enter the mall so you don’t have to canvass the mall and miss out on what could be important video documentation. There have been many times in my career where I was unable to follow the subject into the mall quick enough.  It only took moments for the subject to blend into the sea of people in the mall. After canvassing on foot I would soon become fearful that the subject would exit the store unobserved and depart the area.  I would be forced to reestablish a stationary surveillance position with a view of the subject’s vehicle and wait for them to reappear. It becomes a missed opportunity and you may not get another one.

Quickly Canvassing Large Parking Areas

Surveillance TipsA very important lesson I learned from a surveillance trainer early in my career was to learn to canvass (search) quickly so that very little time is wasted.  In order to canvass large parking areas quickly you will need to stand on the bumper of your vehicle or in the driver position with your driver side door opened.  This will give you an elevated position to see a very large area.  Then take your binoculars and quickly scan the area for vehicles that match your subject’s vehicle.  You will then have an idea were to drive to determine if the vehicle is related to your subject. With any surveillance nothing is guaranteed and every surveillance investigation is different I would take these surveillance tips and add them to your every growing knowledge and experience.  There are many other great surveillance tips articles on this site.  Be sure to check out the archives or search the website with the search box on the right side bar. Come say hi on Facebook.  It’s a great place to ask questions and hear input from other investigators or from those that have questions about the industry. Andrew

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