Private Investigators, often shorted to P.I.s, go by a few other names, including Private Eyes and Private Detectives. Professional private detectives, while operating within the law as an average citizen, have a skillset well above the average citizen’s, which they use for investigating persons of interest, gather evidence, locating missing persons, and more.
What Does a Private Investigator (P.I.) Do?
The scope of an individual P.I.’s work depends on his or her area of specialty and what their clients hire them for. However, some of the more common functions of a P.I. are as follows:
- To gather information on the location, identity, or credibility of a person, business, or other entity
- To perform background checks based on public data
- To carry out physical and video surveillance
- To check the quality of potential investments
- To assist in researching crimes or threats
- To help find the causes of accidents, crimes, or damages
- To verify claims
- To search for and recover missing persons or property
- To investigate or interrogate witnesses
- To access and copy public records and databases on behalf of a client
These duties often overlap depending on the nature of the client’s needs.
Who Does a Private Investigator Work For?
When you look up private investigation, the most common context you’ll find is investigations related to domestic cases such as infidelity. P.I.’s do a lot more than investigate the whereabouts and actions of suspect spouses, however.
There are seven types of people that commonly use P.I. services, though they may not be what first comes to mind:
1. HR Professionals
Human Resources professionals can use private investigators to help perform a pre-employment screening to validate a candidate’s background and experience.
2. Safety Professionals
Workplace safety is an area that, surprisingly, often uses the work of private investigators. When injured employees file workers’ compensation claims, a P.I. can be called upon to perform surveillance to verify or disqualify an employee’s claim to prevent fraud.
3. Insurance Claims Adjusters
Similar to the above, insurance fraud is a common problem, causing insurance companies to hire investigative services to evaluate auto accidents as well as interview and gather evidence for the claimant’s statements.
4. Lawyers and Attorneys
Most people don’t know, private eyes are licensed to serve subpoenas, and are often useful in tracking down witnesses or plaintiffs who may be missing or hiding from the law.
Families may need the services of a private investigator to check the credibility and qualifications of house helpers such as nannies, maids, or other service providers. P.I.’s may also be used to verify the fitness of a parent or caretaker in child custody cases.
Private Investigators are often hired to perform a “due diligence search” to see if the quality of a and assertions of a potential business partner measure up. They can also perform security assessments and integrity audits of your business or rival businesses, as well as investigate suspect employee actions.
Police departments also hire private detectives to pursue the trail of a crime or investigate a suspect when their department’s resources are limited or they are restricted from further course of action.
Of course, these are just some of the clients a private investigator may have, but the list should help give you a better idea of the scope of a P.I.’s duties and professional relationships.
Dangers Faced by Private Investigators
Some P.I.’s perform double duty as security guards. But it’s hard to do two jobs at once, so when they’re not performing security duty, they may need someone to act as security for them.
Private detectives are often in harm’s way in their line of work. And probably, the most common risk that a P.I. faces comes from simply being alone. A private eye can face any or all of the dangers listed below:
Private investigators are often tasked with locating or investigating persons involved with a crime like homicide or fraud. Emotions run high, and suspects can become violent if they find out they’re under surveillance or if they are being interrogated.
Without backup, this puts a P.I. in a dangerous situation of needing to defend him or herself and exit the situation safely, which can be difficult to do and can also jeopardize the results of the investigation.
Private eyes do a lot of after-hours work to avoid being detected, and their job may require them to cross dangerous territory and utilize dangerously uninhabited as well as dangerously crowded spaces.
Travel is a big part of a P.I.’s job, as well, and traveling alone comes with its own set of risks.
Hire Private Security To Reduce On-the-Job Risk
Hiring an armed security officer as a private detective will decrease the likelihood of personal harm, both accidental and intentional, that investigators face in the line of duty.
Simply having another person around – especially armed security guards that are prior or off-duty law enforcement officers – eliminates the risks of being physically overwhelmed by violent suspects, as well as improves mindfulness for everyday risks such as traffic accidents and overlooked structural dangers that cause accidental physical harm.
Increase Efficiency and Improve Detective Work Results with Guard Service for P.I.’s
The service of an armed security guard can also increase efficiency and improve the results of a P.I.’s work. As we mentioned before, the skillsets of a private eye and security professionals often overlap: both have training and experience in criminal justice, public safety and legal authority.
An armed security guard, especially those who are off-duty and prior police, will not only physically protect a detective in case of dangerous situations, but can also serve as backup during surveillance jobs, with intensive training in identifying and assessing risks and performing on-the-job surveillance in a variety of situations.
Private investigators and security guards are easily an effective, forceful team when it comes to safely and legally enforcing justice and discovering truth.
If you are a private investigator whose work puts you in danger, considering hiring short-term security for those jobs you know will include added risk. Doing so can help you cut costs in the long-run, provide better service for your clients, and protect yourself from bodily harm so that you can continue to be there for your clients, family, and friends.