A private investigator must be aware of any possible leads or clues when conducting an investigation. Private investigators maintain awareness, take photos, make notes, and diagram scenes. They don't overlook anything. Following are important items and information that can lead private investigators to important clues:
1. Timing - "Timing is everything!" - In an investigation this cliche may be true. What time was the witness at the scene?, When did the target arrive?. Private investigators always ask people they interview for times. Approximate if they did not specifically know. Then ask how they knew the approximate time. You can easily create a timeline documenting key facts.
2. Clothing Descriptions - Specific - "She was wearing a red shirt and blue jeans." Not a lot of detail there. When playing back the video, you may be surprised to find 3 or more women wearing red shirts and blue jeans. Ask for specific types of clothing. Collared shirt?, Specific colors such as dark or light. Ask what type shoes they were wearing. More detailed information you can get, the smaller your list of suspects will become.
3. Phone Call Times & Numbers & Sounds!! - If your investigation includes information from a phone call, ask for specific times, phone numbers, and then inquire if there were any background noises. Smartphones log calls so times and numbers are easy to get. Background sounds the person being interviewed heard while talking could be important. Maybe there were traffic noises in the background at a time the suspect was claiming to be in the office.
4. Items laying around - Any good private investigator knows all clues do not stand out at first. Make sure to photograph and document anything you see whether you think it is relevant or not. This is important when conducting surveillance. Maybe there is dry cleaning hanging in the back of the car, hamburger wrappers laying on the desk in the office late in the afternoon, or other items. This is important information that can be used in interviews, or creating a timeline for a target's movements. Not all items you see will be clues, nor will there be a clear sign indicating that an item is a clue.
5. Receipts or actions that create a paper trail - In any investigation, this information is important. Maybe your target claimed to be eating dinner late at night. A quick scan of a credit or bank card statement can help determine if it is accurate. Of course you may need to ask, "How did you pay for that?". Leaving a secure parking deck, or card controlled access point at a building can be another important clue that can help you separate facts from fantasy.
Information that may not appear to be relevant at first, may later become important to the investigation. If not captured in writing or in photographs, it may be lost. Information that can make or break a case.
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