What does a private investigator do?
Private investigators are detectives. They’re not the same as police officers, who enforce the law and make arrests. Private investigators work for individuals or businesses to solve problems and protect their interests. An individual may hire them, or they might work on behalf of a government agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
A private investigator should be a great listener for what’s important. You want to hear it, not just say it.
You can ask questions that get your client talking about what they want and need from their investigation. For example: “What did the police tell you before they arrested him?” or “How long has this been going on?” When they start talking, pay attention! They may be covering up something important with details and embellishing stories (which is normal).
Observing is a key part of the job. It’s what you do when you’re at a crime scene and trying to figure out what happened or when your client wants you to find out if they’ve been impersonated. The key is that there are many different kinds of observation—not just watching someone in public but also observing them in private settings and even inside private homes.
- Observing people’s actions, words and body language at work or home (e.g., business meetings)
- Observing people around town (e.g., barbershop conversations)
- Observing people in public places such as parks & libraries
A private investigator collects and analyzes data. This includes identifying patterns in your life, such as where you spend most of your time or who you socialize with. The PIs then use this information to create reports they can share with their clients.
This process can be done manually or with software tools like Excel spreadsheets or databases, which allow investigators to organize large amounts of data into useful categories.
When you’re investigating a case, it can be tempting to focus on other tasks and neglect this step. But without good documentation, it’s difficult for courts or law enforcement agencies to use your report as evidence if they ever need it in court proceedings—and they very well might!
- Use technology: If you have access to cameras, video surveillance systems or other technological tools that allow you to record people’s actions during an investigation, make sure that these devices document everything they see (or hear). This will help ensure that all relevant evidence has been recorded properly so that no one gets away with anything under pretenses.
- Use paper: Even if there aren’t any cameras running at all times during an investigation (which would be rare), writing down everything said between yourself and others involved in the case may still serve as useful documentation when it comes time for court cases later down the road.*
When your Los Angeles private investigator is finished with your report, it’s time to present it. This is when they work with you on any recommendations they have or discuss the next steps and follow-up.
The most important thing when writing a report is to be clear and concise—don’t use long words or get too technical! Keep in mind that people don’t always read everything when reading through something online; if possible, make sure there are visual elements (such as charts) and text so readers can quickly understand what you’re trying to say.
Some PIs will take action to solve a problem. For example, if you’ve lost your pet and need help finding it, a private investigator can track the missing animal for you.
Private investigators can also work with police departments to solve crimes or track missing persons. They often work together because there are many similarities between law enforcement agencies and private investigators’ jobs: both must gather evidence to make arrests, interview witnesses, and have access rights (which means they can enter homes without permission).
PI’s are detectives.
A private investigator is a detective.
The difference between them and a police officer or other authority figure is that the PI can investigate on your behalf, while the police officer will answer to a higher level of government.
Additionally, an investigation in the field may be conducted by only one person (as opposed to multiple officers).
When choosing a private investigator, dont just get someone blindly, check if they’ve the above attributes. That will save you lots of time.