Mobile surveillance is usually done by private investigators for legal cases that need surveillance reports to provide proofs. If you need to uncover someone who you think is withholding relevant information on your cases, doing this kind of surveillance is necessary. But don’t just get in your car and follow that person around. You need to prepare yourself for this tough job. Mobile surveillance can be dangerous if you’re not careful or canny enough to do it. Here is how to do it the right way:
- Get a good video camera. You can’t do a successful mobile surveillance if you don’t have a good camera. Get yourself an HD camera with the capability of getting steady shots because most of the time, you will be moving around and the camera will tend to shake. Your camera should have a wide view to capture more in one picture. You need a good tripod in case you need to wait long hours in a particular area. Be sure you have packed a full battery and an extra battery on hand. Get a big memory card capacity. Always bring your camera bag since you have to carry your video camera around.
- Equip yourself for the job. When you’re on the road, it would be wise to equip yourself with other things besides your video camera like a thick notebook to write down your notes so you won’t forget important numbers, contacts or addresses. Food is one of the most important things you should bring along during surveillance. You will be following your subject most of the time and going in a McDonald's isn’t an option.
- Follow your subject. Once you have located your subject, use a head shot to establish the identity of the person. Get a wide view shot of the person and his surroundings. This is particularly important to establish the location and the other people he might be dealing with at that moment. Capture as much details as you can. Don’t worry about getting the perfect pictures because you can sort the photos after your surveillance is over. Never get too close or too far from the subject. If you are following the person on foot, don’t get too close to him that he can “feel” your presence. If you are following the subject in a car, don’t be too far behind 2 cars or you might lose him at a traffic light. Always be aware of your surroundings and most importantly, always have quick reflexes.
- Deal with bystanders. Bystanders are hard to control. There will be people suspecting you of some malicious activities. They might approach you and question you about it. The first thing you should do would be to keep calm. Come up with a good excuse of why you are there but never divulge the information that you are doing surveillance.
- Deal with the police. Some people who find you suspicious would not choose to confront you but they would call the police. Once the police arrive, don’t turn your back and run – that would just create a big commotion and could land you in jail for evasion and resisting arrest. Keep calm and answer the police’s questions clearly and precisely. Don’t forget to bring any necessary papers and identification documents to establish your identity to them.
Mobile surveillance is a dangerous job for those who are not trained. Be sure that you are always aware of your surroundings when you
are doing the job. Most importantly, always be safe.