Surveillance: Everything Means Something

            In the real world of surveillance, monotony can often times cause, even the most trained professionals to miss simple details. When working a long term case and building a pattern of life on a client, every little action or detail is actually invaluable to the nature of the case.

If you work a case long enough and you are fully aware of what “nothing” looks like, when your client does “something” it will stand out like a sore thumb. Even if that “something” is rather small and would have been missed by someone who doesn’t know what a client’s “nothing” looks like. During a long and tedious process of gathering this raw intelligence on your client, it is very important to take intricate notes and also your own analysis of what you or your team observed during each surveillance shift. It’s important to not only write a minute by minute log of the shift’s events but also your own analysis of what you observed that day. Looking back at a log from a previous year and only having the minute by minute log might not accurately reflect what was really observed that day. If your client was acting nervous that day when the client normally is calm, it could be epically important to state that in your own analysis. That shift’s log might not mean much that day but might break a case wide open a year later. What happens if your client travels to the same location next year and acts nervous again? Could this location be your client’s operational site that is only used once a year? Is this drastic demeanor change telling us loud and clear, “hey guys, I’m getting ready to do something today?”

Remember, everything means something.

What route does your client drive to work/school each day? Is it a well-traveled/logical route to drive? If not, why does your client drive this route? Does your client drive past two Starbucks and then off the main route to go to a third one? Humans tend to be creatures of habit. It is important to take this into account when analyzing your client’s daily patterns. Maybe the first two Starbucks are always out of his/her favorite muffin each morning by the time they get there, so your client goes off the beaten path a bit to get their favorite morning snack. It’s important to remember human habits like this when conducting a surveillance shift and writing your analysis about the day’s activities. The next time you’re out taking care of errands, think about what you did that day, where you drove, what routes you took to get there, and did you take any shortcuts to get there. Now imagine someone was surveilling you. What would they think about your patterns that day? Did they think you were driving a surveillance detection route (SDR) when in actuality you when just driving surface streets to avoid a few traffic lights and school zones with a decreased speed limit?

Remember, everything means something.

A client’s demeanor toward others in their life can speak volumes in regards to observing obvious changes. Does the client value friendships and relationships with others? Do they praise others or belittle them? Do they walk with or in front of their spouse/partner? Is this a cultural norm or a personality trait? Does your client present a pattern of neatness or a disheveled look? What personal habits do they have? Have these habits increased or decreased over time? All of these personal characteristics can speak volumes about a person and can often help in making an educated prediction as to future activities of your client.

Remember, everything means something.

 

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