(02I) Chapter 9 Surveillance


      Surveillance is the close observation of persons, vehicles, places or objects with the intent to obtain information concerning the activities and identities of individuals for the purpose of bringing an investigation into sharp focus.

  1. Surveillance Objectives

                       (1)  Obtaining evidence

                       (2)  Locating wanted persons

                       (3)  Identify relationships

                       (4)  Preventing crimes or wrongful acts

                       (5)  Screening informants

                       (6)  Safeguarding persons, places or things

  1. Types of Surveillance

                         (1)  Foot Surveillance.  A surveillance technique in which the investigator does not utilize a vehicle, although public transportation may be necessary. Generally, foot surveillance is used onlyover relatively short distances or to maintain contact after a subject has left his/her vehicle.

                                     (a)  One man surveillance.  Most difficult method because the subject must be kept in view at all times. Close contact is required to enable the investigator to adjust to sudden moves.

                                     (b)  Two man surveillance.  This method affords greater security against detection.

 1)  Crowded streets.  Both investigators should remain on the same side of the street, with one staying fairly close and the other keeping some distance behind.

2)Less crowded streets.  One of the investigators should walk to the opposite side of the street nearly abreast of the subject to avoid detection. Periodic changes in position should also be made.

3)  A clever subject, discovering that he is under surveillance, may not reveal this knowledge, but instead may attempt to lose his follower.  Some common methods that may be used to detect foot surveillance are:

  1. a)Stopping to tie a shoestring
  2. b)Stopping abruptly and reversing directions
  3. c)Dropping a piece of paper to see who picks it up
  4. d)Having a friend watch to see if anyone is following
  5. e)Riding short distances on buses and taxis or just circling the block in a taxi
  6. f)Entering a building and leaving by another entrance

                       (2)  Vehicle Surveillance.  A surveillance technique in which the investigator(s) utilize a vehicle to follow a subject. There are different types of vehicle surveillance which depend primarily upon the number of vehicles available.

                                     (a)  One car surveillance.  If only one car is available for surveillance, it’s position should be behind the followed car.  The distance behind would vary with traffic conditions. The surveillance car should be occupied by two investigators when at all possible, for a more accurate operation.

                                     (b)  Two-car surveillance.  Both cars should remain behind the subject’s car. Occasionally one car may operate on a known parallel route.

                                     (c)  Three-car surveillance.  The most effective of the three methods. Three-car surveillance should more readily utilize parallel routes.

                                      (d)  Detection of surveillance.  Subject who believes he is being followed may resort to various techniques to detect an automobile surveillance:

1)  Alternating fast and slow driving or frequent parking

2)  Stopping suddenly, speeding up a hill and coasting down

3)  Driving into dead end streets or pulling into driveways

  (e)  Eluding surveillance

Once a subject has confirmed his suspicion of being followed, he will use various techniques to attempt to elude the investigator.

1)  Committing flagrant traffic violations, such as making U-turns, driving against traffic on one-way streets and running red lights

2)  Using double entrances to driveways

3)  Cutting through parking lots

4)  Driving through congested areas

5)   Deserting the vehicle beyond a blind corner 

Makes & Models of Cars

  1. Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Saturn, Ford Focus and rental cars.
  2. Models, two door, four door, Mini Vans, Vans and some SUV.
  3. Colors, burgundy, white, black, dark green, gray, and tan are good colors.
  4. Stickers, none or cover up.
  5. No personalized plates.




ody Type


icense Plate

Inside vehicle items

  1. Baby seat
  2. Messy vs. clean
  3. Food wrappers
  4. Hobby cloths
  5. Drink bottles
  6. Paper or plastic bags

 (3)  Fixed Surveillance.  A surveillance technique in which the investigator watches from a stationary vantage point such as a room, house, or camouflaged outdoor fixture. Typically a fixed surveillance will be conducted for one of the following reasons:

(a)  To detect illicit activities in the targeted area

(b)  To identify the persons who frequent the dwelling or establishment and to determine their roles in the illicit activity

(c)  To provide probable cause for a search warrant

(d)  To determine the habits of the persons who frequent the locale under observation

4)  Electronic Surveillance.  A surveillance technique, which utilizes electronic equipment such as tape recordings and bugging devices to obtain information.

 Note before an electronic surveillance is conducted the investigator should become familiar with the laws pertaining to wiretapping and the ramifications that may result from the illegal use of electronic surveillance equipment (refer to the Federal Wiretapping Law, U.S. Code.)

  1. Advantages of Cultivating People Who Live and Work in the Surveillance Area

                         (1)  Serve as sources of information

                         (2)  Provide a physical location to conduct surveillance

                         (3)  Provide a reason or cover story for your presence

                         (4)  Serve as a communication link

                         (5)  Provide you with tips on how to blend into the area

                         (6)  Serve as extra eyes and ears

  1. Equipment for Surveillance from a Camouflaged Location

                         (1)  Binoculars

                         (2)  Motionless cameras

                         (3)  Video cameras

                         (4)  Microphones and tape recorders (see electronic surveillance)

  1. Common Errors Made During Surveillance

                         (1)  Not blending into the environment

                         (2)  Smoking in the dark

                         (3)  Sunlight off lenses (cameras, binoculars, etc.)

                         (4)  Using a suspicious looking vehicle

                         (5)  Radio communication

                         (6)  Simply being too obvious

  1. Surveillance Log

It is important to keep a chronological log of your surveillance findings and the activities that take place in and around the surveillance area

          (1)  Times.  Arrival, departure, etc.

                         (2)  Descriptions:   Photos, sketches etc.

                         (3)  Exact locations

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