vehicle surveillance techniques

We have researched the top Vehicle Surveillance Techniques. Hence, this article on surveillance tactics used by police. Below, in this article, you will find how to tail a suspect. Read on to discover them.

One of the oldest and most common practices in investigative services remains the best option in most cases when real-time information is required. Mostly used as a tools for private investigations but also a viable option in order to gather protective intelligence on a subject, surveillance is a very useful tool to keep greased in your toolbox. Surveillance is a skill learned best through experience, however tactics and techniques can also be improved via tips and tricks from seasoned practitioners. Below we have compiled some very effective tactics, techniques and procedures for conducting surveillance investigations, for both private investigators as well as for protective intelligence assignments.

surveillance tactics used by police

Vehicle Surveillance Techniques

On the Surveillance:
• How your presence is perceived in your target environment is very important to the success of your surveillance. ‘Fitting in’ and creating the illusion that you belong in order to effectively “hide in plain sight” is a very effective practice – sometimes being seen is better trying to remain hidden; hiding in plain sight to take advantage of the heuristics and geographics of that environment is difficult at times, but worth it.

• Be very careful not to give up your face directly to the subject, and only do so if absolutely necessary. At all costs, avoid eye contact as your eyes will tell the target more than you would ever care to. Remember, even if someone looks directly at you that does not mean that they see you. Avoid reacting as if they are on to you and just carry on.

• Avoid driving (or walking) by the target’s residence more than once per day unless absolutely necessary. You should prepare a story explaining why you are in that area and you can scatter ‘peepers’  such as a car seat/toys, laundry basket, etc. in plain view within the vehicle and do not leave anything revealing in view – camera, binoculars, notebook, etc.

• You do not need a ‘Chester the Molester’ or ‘Free Candy’ van to work covert surveillance cases without being seen and a van like that will stand out to every parent in the neighborhood. In most environments renting a common vehicle (Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, etc.) will be your best bet in blending in. Check the area ahead of time or even check Google Earth imagery to see the types of vehicles in the area and get what works. A business account with a big name renter usually means a standard car for $20-$30 a day, which is worth it.

• Check Google Earth imagery for routes in and out of the location and familiarize yourself with the area. This will facilitate your staging area as to avoid sitting right on the house, and will also let you know ahead of time if multiple vehicles will be required.

• It may help to get into the environment during the early morning hours as to avoid being seen entering the area and appear to have been there all night. Also consider insertion into the target area via someone dropping you off or parking the vehicle and walking away leaving you there to get a great spot. Remember, it is typically not the presence of the investigator that attracts attention – it is movement.

• Avoid being observed with a camera in-hand as the act itself will draw attention. No one uses a camera anymore…with the capabilities of most smart phones today, consider using it as this is less alerting. Some phones (namely iPhones) can activate the shutter with the volume button and you can do this with the device to your ear as to appear like you are talking on the phone – which works very well. Additionally, there are free apps that will time/date/GPS stamp the photo or video.

• Caution yourself when working cases near places where families an children gather – playgrounds, schools, etc. as you might find yourself surrounded by some very suspicious and emotional parents and consider the legality of who is in your photos and video as well.
• Start the day with a full tank of gas and clean the windshield and all glass on your vehicle so you can utilize your mirrors on your vehicle to shoot video and take photos to reduce movement and reduce frontal exposure. Make sure you note in your report if a photo was shot through a mirror.

• Conduct a pre-surveillance investigation and/or read all prior reports on the case, and know the places your target frequently visits. In being ‘creatures of habit,’ it may be your best bet to check your map and go to the closest location upon losing contact.

• Find a peculiar characteristic (sticker, damage, etc.) of the vehicle you are following or place an identifier, such as a sticker placed in the center of the tail light. If in a high traffic area at night, an IR chem-light affixed under the vehicle with an IR Viewer in hand works like a charm.

• If you can work as a male/female team you will be much less likely to be noticed; hold hand, flirt, etc. You can even get creative, taking pictures of the target making it look like you are taking pictures of each other.

• Be especially proactive on mobile surveillances; anticipate turns, stops and traffic interferences and consider your lane position carefully. The best way to learn this skill is through experience or by a ride along with a seasoned practitioner who verbalizes their thoughts as they work.

• When static, avoid things that will distract you from the target, such as Facebook, games, crosswords, etc. and if you must, bring the item to eye level in order to keep the target in your peripheral vision to maximize the observance of movement or change.

Surveillance Tips

• The capability of taking clear digital video and still photos from 100 yards is critical – date and time stamped with GPS stamp is also important. Also consider a covert camera, such as a pen or button camera which can come in handy if in a small area, such as a small restaurant. Binoculars or a monocular are useful in reducing the use of your camera.

• A voice recorder and notepad are also essential to keep chronological notes. Smart phones usually have voice recorders and you can even speak your notes into it.

• At least one extra set of clothes with a hat so you can change your clothing and accessories (hats, sunglasses, etc.) throughout the assignment – especially if you have had close contact with the target; plan for all weather conditions as well.

• Food, water and a method of relieving yourself to avoid moving your vehicle or getting out of the vehicle is very important as the excessive movement is likely to raise interest.

• Check all electronic devices for proper date and time setting, fully charged batteries and an extra battery is always a good thing.

• A vehicle with fog lights is a great asset – this affords you the option of changing the head light pattern of the vehicle in chase throughout the surveillance which may reduce the chances of the subject identifying you over the course of the surveillance.

Report Writing:
• Write your report to satisfy the client AND the end user – i.e. the client’s attorney. Write in third person, “The investigator arrived…..” and remember, many people will never see you but will know you and judge you by how you write and how you have conducted the surveillance.

• Include a photo log that contains: Identification photos of the target, photos of all vehicles involved in the investigation, photos of every location the target visits along with the address of that location, photos of any special identifying marks on the target and vehicle(s) and of course include any useful photos pertinent to the intent of your investigation. Video can be referenced and/or included in the report by including still photos from the video, noting the time into the segment.

• Stay on topic in your report and satisfy the intent of the request. If it is not pertinent to the case, it does not belong in the report, such as if it’s a worker’s compensation injury case, know the injury and continually address in the report how the injury is consistent or inconsistent with the target’s current behavior and mobility and the fact the target/claimant is functioning inside or outside of those restrictions in your report.

how to tail a suspect


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.×280&!4&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=2fBBlhNtVX&p=https%3A//

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.–_RTKnorrNoHPlHQlFURgdaOmLJfeXaQciHw%2CAGkb-H_3UArNGKcbghsCXs7QcmMeU3uuHWrGlkha-RV0hVwbz7UKLCjZ_mqE5gUi3GyHNtC_zzNmngCzeg&pvsid=3643442568505792&pem=761&!5&btvi=2&fsb=1&xpc=UteOFQVNNV&p=https%3A//

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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