police surveillance tactics

Suppose you want to know  the best Police Surveillance Tactics, then this article is what you need. It contains the importance of surveillance in criminal investigation. Also, it includes vehicle surveillance techniques.

Emerging technology is giving police departments new ways to track suspects and head off possible crimes. It’s also rapidly expanding the scope of police surveillance of civilians.

Police across the country are using tech to widen the scope of people and platforms that they monitor. This surveillance is rarely publicized given the sensitive nature of police investigations, but details of police tactics have regularly surfaced through lawsuits, public records disclosures, and success stories touted by police departments as examples of successful crime prevention.

importance of surveillance in criminal investigation

Police Surveillance Tactics

Law enforcement agencies have made full use of high-tech surveillance tools as protests sweep the country following the death of George Floyd. A predator drone operated by Customs and Border Patrol circled above protesters in Minneapolis Friday, Motherboard first reported. Police have also reportedly dug into the smartphones of arrested protesters to glean their personal information.

Human rights advocates have raised the alarm about the acceleration of police surveillance using new technology. A report published by the Brennan Center for Justice this week compiles tactics used by the New York Police Department, highlighting their potential threats to privacy, free speech, and due process.

While this technology is relatively new, it’s already widely used across the US. Databases of people’s faces compiled by local police departments now contain over half of American adults, according to a study by researchers at Georgetown.

Some cities have begun to take action to regulate police use of technology for surveillance. San Francisco became the first city to ban the use of facial recognition software by police in May, and the New York City Council is currently weighing a bill to force the NYPD to publicly disclose their tactics involving surveillance technology.

But in the absence of such regulation, police tactics are largely opaque, and there isn’t much court precedent for how transparent police departments are obligated to be regarding their surveillance methods.

Here’s what we do know about how police departments across the US are using technology for surveillance.

Facial recognition

People walk past a poster simulating facial recognition software at the Security China 2018 exhibition

Facial recognition technology is now sophisticated enough for police to use stationary cameras to perform real-time scans of crowds of people walking through the streets or public squares, with AI searching for potential matches to faces of known suspects. The technology is used by the FBI, as well as by police departments scattered across Florida, Ohio, Maryland, and California.

Facial recognition technology is fallible, however, and could potentially make a false match. For that reason, a coalition of activists and AI programmers have called for law enforcement agencies to stop using the technology, NBC News reported.

Video analytics

security camera

Like facial recognition, video analytics software scans footage and uses artificial intelligence to identify people and objects that could provide clues to law enforcement, like bags, clothes, or cars that could be tied to a suspect.

It’s unclear exactly how many police departments nationwide use video analytics software. IBM licensed its version of the software to multiple police departments before withdrawing it from the market last April, although it continues to support police departments with existing contracts.

Social media tracking

WhatsApp hack

Law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of social media platforms’ massive reach and ready-made surveillance tools, such as the ability to search users by name and identify a network of their friends and family.

In a survey of more than 500 local police departments in 2016, three-quarters reported using social media to solicit tips and gather intelligence for investigations. Another 60% reported that they directly contacted social media companies to obtain information related to a suspect.

Algorithm-driven policing

NYPD surveillance
A New York Police Department officer watches video feeds in the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative facility in New York September 1, 2011 

Police are using algorithms to parse crime data in order to predict where future crimes are likely to occur, as well as to generate lists of individuals who the AI thinks may be likely to commit a crime. 

Little is known about the degree to which police departments use this technology, but a three-year legal fight between the Brennan Center and the NYPD has exposed how the department sought out such AI and used it routinely. The technology has also been used by police departments across California.

Cell tower simulators, or “Stingrays”

australia phone police surveillance
A woman takes an iPhone photo of part of the flower wall that reads ‘#keephopealive’, as part of an Amnesty international vigil for the Bali 9 duo, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in a last ditch effort to sway the Indonesian Government to halt the planned executions of the two on April 27, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Chan is one of the nine Australians accused by Indonesian Police of drug trafficking on April 17, 2005. 

These devices send out powerful signals that mimic cell towers, tricking people’s cell phones within range into connecting to them. Once connected, police can use Stingrays to learn cell phones’ location and unique ID numbers.

Stingrays are used by 75 police departments in 27 states, according to the ACLU. Fourteen national agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, and the IRS are also known to use Stingrays.

Drones, surveillance towers, and more cameras


Advances in tech are making it more inexpensive for police departments to maintain complex networks of surveillance towers, cameras, and drones to monitor large swaths of areas simultaneously. 

While maintaining networks of cameras is more common among large urban police forces, more than 165 police departments across the US purchased drones in 2016. Police use drones to map cities, hunt down suspects or victims, investigate crime scenes, and monitor traffic.

vehicle surveillance techniques


AliExpress is a massively popular Chinese online retail service owned by Alibaba Group. It was launched in 2010 and hasn’t stopped its journey to becoming the ‘biggest online marketplace of the world‘ ever-since. AliExpress stands toe-to-toe even with Amazon in terms of buyers worldwide. It offers wholesale goods at direct-to-consumer prices from Chinese sellers.


It also works as a great dropshipping model for a lot of e-commerce entrepreneurs. Along with a lot of good sides, AliExpress has some cons as well. The biggest problem is the shipping time of AliExpress orders, which is pretty long considering the goods come from China. Also, some orders can be very expensive after shipping charges and taxes.

So, it is a good thing to have some AliExpress alternatives whenever you don’t like its services. That’s why we are telling you about 21 best sites like AliExpress. Some of these websites offer cheaper prices and faster shipping on certain products. And, you can also use them to maintain a nice profit margin for your dropshipping business.


LightInTheBox is the perfect AliExpress alternative as it is also a Chinese e-Store. It sells hot and trending products across the globe. Their products range from phone and electronics to fashion, jewelry, shoes, bags, and many other items. You can find almost anything here at a very cheap price.

The delivery time of LightInTheBox is also similar to AliExpress as their warehouses are located only in China. But, you may get a faster shipping time due to having fewer orders to ship. You can pay for your orders with PayPal, Western Union, or your credit card.


Wish is a widely popular online marketplace where you can buy almost anything. From clothing to footwear, electronics, healthcare items, and many more things, you can get them all for an incredibly cheap price. They are also known to offer great deals and coupons to their new customers.

Their shipping time is also faster than AliExpress as their products come from sellers located in small countries. Wish also provides an advanced rating system that is very helpful for both the consumers as well as sellers. It helps promote good ones.


Overstock is a US-based online marketplace. It makes profit by selling wholesale products at a highly cheap price tag. A major portion of their stock is comprised of overstock from the major retailers or their seconds. You can find some really amusing deals here. The shipping time will also be lower as compared to the Chinese marketplaces. You can get your items within a week.

The product range of Overstock is incredible. You can find everything such as clothing, decor, kitchen appliances, and many more items. You can even find furniture and other big home items. So, you can use to fill your house with great stuff at a reduced price.


DealeXtreme, more popularly known as DX, is an amazing online marketplace. The website works in a very similar manner as ‘Wish’ and sells cheap products coming directly from sellers. It has partnered with many small businesses and sells its products to a wide base of audience.


The shipping time is a problem with DX also because their warehouses are located in China. Apart from this, you can get some really worthy deals on DX. You should always keep an eye on their clearance sales for the best prices.


Gearbest is the perfect AliExpress alternative if you are looking to shop for the latest gadgets or electronic devices. It works with over 5000 Chinese brands and top suppliers to deliver the best products. It has products from top Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, and many others. But, it isn’t just an electronic store.

You can also find a massive range of other products as well. The prices available on GearBest are reduced, and you can even reduce them with the available coupons. They also have warehouses in multiple countries. So, you can get faster shipping from the local warehouse.


BangGood is another Chinese e-commerce platform that provides worldwide shipping of cheap goods. You can find almost anything on this website, from clothing to electronics, and even home items. The prices available are marked down from their original prices. You can also get amazing deals during special clearance sales.

BangGood provides a free $20 coupon to every new user. The shipping time for BangGood orders is faster than AliExpress for certain products. However, the regular shipping time is similar.


ChinaBrands is a widely popular Chinese e-Store where you can buy products at wholesale prices. You can find almost anything on this website at a highly affordable price. Their shipping prices are also low but you will get a long shipping time. It is the perfect website for buyers who want the lowest prices but can wait for their orders for at least a month.

Most of the ChinaBrands sellers run their factories from China, and their warehouses are located there only. This is the reason for the considerably long shipping time.


Bonanza is a unique American online marketplace where you can find a great range of products. They have over 20 million items from more than 50,000 sellers. It is a growing e-commerce store where even you can sell your items. It is a preferred platform by more than 20,000 entrepreneurial sellers. You can find some really amazing handcrafted items and collectibles here.

For people looking to shop regular items, this store may disappoint you a little. The prices of some items may be a little higher than some Chinese stores. But, the quality provided will be worth it.


Here are 21 AliExpress Alternatives that you can use to shop online.

  1. LightInTheBox
  2. Wish
  3. Overstock
  4. DealXtreme (DX)
  5. GearBest
  6. BangGood
  7. ChinaBrands
  8. Bonanza
  9. DHGate
  10. TinyDeal
  11. Target
  12. MiniInTheBox
  13. GeekBuying
  14. Jet
  15. TomTop
  16. Target
  17. MadeInChina
  18. American Greenwood
  19. Walmart
  20. eBay
  21. Amazon


AliExpress is amazing but it is always good to have options when you are shopping. So, these are the 21 best sites like AliExpress. If you ever feel like you should look somewhere else, these are some stores that you should visit. You can also use these for your dropshipping business if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Make sure you have a solid plan before beginning.

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