10 Common Private Investigator Equipment and Tools


The world of private investigators (PIs) is an intriguing one. It involves going behind the scenes, conducting stakeouts, and walking in the shadows to collect critical evidence to support a client’s case. The best private investigators will have the right tools and equipment to aid the collection of information in different formats. Evidence gathered using these tools should be of such quality that a court of law would deem it admissible.

Below are 10 private investigator tools and equipment essential for an effective PI service:

1. Spyware

In an increasingly wired world where people are more present online than offline, private investigators rely on spyware to contemporaneously record and monitor activities. Such spyware could be installed on a smartphone, a home PC or any other appropriate device. However, in some jurisdictions, spyware is outlawed. Besides, any evidence procured through illegal spyware devices or applications is likely to be inadmissible in a court of law.

2. GPS

Private investigators also use GPS tracking devices to track a vehicle’s movement. It has to be installed in a car to track it. The device is commonly used by private investigators to establish if an employee uses a company car for personal errands. It can also be used to track the movements of a cheating spouse.

The caveat here, however, is that the car’s owner must agree to the installation of such private investigator equipment. Reckless driving or DUI cases that get to court sometimes rely on GPS tracking to convict culprits.

3. Cameras

Private investigation is all about evidence, and nothing screams evidence than video or still images of a suspect caught in the act. Private investigators have used cameras for decades. The cameras should have lens devices that can take pictures or record activities from a distance.

The images could provide proof that a suspect was at a specific location at a particular time and was engaged in a specific activity under investigation. Video cameras could also be used to record incriminating activities.

4. Specialist Databases

As a private investigator, access to specialist databases that the public cannot access is critical. You will need such databases to do detailed background checks on persons under investigation. You can also use them to establish if someone has a criminal record or otherwise. A specialist database can also be used to expose hidden assets owned by a business partner or a spouse.

5. Digital Scanner

As a private investigator, you will at times need to scan records or other documents. A digital scanner makes this task a breeze. It allows you to take images of tons of materials within a very short time. Once the scans are ready, you can easily search through them to quickly find the information you are looking for.

6. The Internet

Private investigators use the Internet to perform advanced Google searches on their subject. From a basic Google search, private investigators can narrow down to specific features that could unearth handy information. For instance, you can use the “around” feature to search for two terms within a group of words, or you use the minus (-) to exclude specific terms.

7. Power Inverter

As a private investigator, you need to be able to charge your camera or phone at any time. Having an AC/DC power inverter in your car means you can use your car’s cigarette lighter to charge your critical devices. You don’t want your camera’s battery to die in the middle of a stakeout with no option for charging it.

8. Binoculars

Binoculars are one of the signature private detective equipment that everybody associates with investigators. A good pair of binoculars allow a PI (private investigator) to be close enough to witness activity in real-time while at the same time being at a safe distance to avoid detection.

9. Power Bank

Sometimes you have to follow a suspect on foot and cannot use your car’s battery to recharge your device. A power bank allows you to recharge your camera or phone as you go. A 20,000 mAh can easily fit in a pocket and is relatively inexpensive.

10. Tire Repair Kit

It can be frustrating to get a puncture while on a job. Having the necessary tools to fix a tire is a critical requirement for a PI. You can throw in a can of tire sealant to help you temporarily fix the tire and continue with your work as you look for a mechanic.

A private investigator worth their salt need to be prepared with the right tools and equipment before taking on a client. At the end of the day, collecting evidence that can stand in a court of law relies heavily on the tools and equipment of the trade. These private investigator equipment include cameras, scanners, power banks, power converters, specialist databases, GPS, the Internet, and many others. Use any tool or equipment that could facilitate the gathering of credible evidence to support your client’s case.

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10 Common Private Investigator Equipment and Tools

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