The private investigator: then and now

Private Investigator NYC

We’ve all seen private investigators in television and movies, sitting in dimly lit offices filled with cigarette smoke. But most people are not aware of the complex origins of these characters, or of their real life applications today. There are still many who wonder today, “what is a private investigator?”

What is a Private Investigator?

The story of the private investigator agent is a fascinating one, and it helps us understand the role they play in our society. If you are finding yourself in need of some specialized services – to obtain a piece of information, put together a puzzling story, or otherwise go beyond the scope of traditional law enforcement – learning about what a private eye does may be the first step in the right direction.

Historically, private detectives have existed as a means for individuals to hire services that traditional law enforcement are unwilling or unable to do. In 19th century France, it was the original private investigators who developed techniques of record-keeping, taking plaster casts of footprints, and using indelible ink in order to solve the crimes of their day.

In the United States, the scene was dominated by the Pinkertons, a private investigator agency that offered services to wealthier citizens and organizations. Most notably, founder Allan Pinkerton is credited with foiling an assassination attempt on a young Abraham Lincoln, before his days as leader of the country. It was during these days that private eyes were also commonly used as bodyguards or even private militia men.

The Private Investigations Industry Has Evolved

It was through ingenuity and dedication that these professionals were able to find solutions to problems that the police of their day were stumped by, and many common investigative methods that exist today may not have come into being at all, if it were not for these resourceful detectives. However, the field has changed much since these early days. Over the past century, the industry has evolved to cover many other functions, from settling labor disputes to tracking down wanted criminals. As private eyes have grown more accessible to the average citizen, their uses have diversified to match the many needs of contemporary society.

Today, the full list of uses for a private detective is practically inexhaustible, but there are a few general categories to keep in mind.

The most basic function of the private investigator has always been to obtain information. This broad role includes a wide assortment of different tasks, including, but not limited to: finding an address or phone number; identifying an identity or alias; research familial history; uncovering various financial assets; or finding employment history. The investigator has an assortment of resources and skills at his disposal to get the job done, and by doing his research, knocking on doors, and putting in the necessary legwork, he will become an invaluable ally who is willing and able to go to any lengths to find out what you need to know.

Perhaps what you are looking for is more concrete than an address or phone number that can be quickly scribbled on a piece of paper. Luckily, private investigators are experts at tracking down people, objects, physical documents, or anything else their clients can dream up. It is very common to hire one of these professionals to check in on a spouse who is suspected of infidelity or to locate a missing person. Getting their hands on any number of legal or financial documents is a particular specialty, and one that should not be forgotten.

Hire an Expert in the Field

Finally, where the hard earned expertise comes in to play is through the investigator’s ability to help their clients see the big picture – to connect the dots between a series of seemingly separate events and get the full story. Using their trained eye, they will pick up details that others would miss, and with their sharpened mind they will expertly piece together the fragments in order to get a clear idea of the situation. Often a client will hire a professional investigator to spy on a cheating girlfriend, or retrieve a specific piece of information, only to discover that their suspicions were only the tip of the iceberg.

No matter what, your private eye will use the utmost discretion to protect and serve your interests. The potential uses are almost limitless and based totally on your needs, and often you will find yourself discovering more than you expected. If you are in a situation where you feel your suspicious rise, or your curiosity piqued, it might be a good idea to sit down with one of these professionals and have a conversation. You might be surprised at what you can find out.