Introduction to Surveillance Techniques

The purpose of surveillance is to determine:

(l) the suitability of the potential target based upon the physical and procedural security precautions that the individual has taken and

(2) the most suitable time, location, and method of attack.

Surveillance may last for days or weeks depending upon the length of time it takes the surveillants to obtain the information that they require. The surveillance of a person who has set routines and who takes few precautions will take less time.

The people undertaking the surveillance will often not take part in the attack nor will the attack take place while surveillance is still in progress.

Before starting surveillants gather all information that is available about the subject from other sources. Public records or information made available from a sympathetic individual may reveal useful facts about an individual such as the names of family members, an address, a description of vehicles and license numbers, etc.

The surveillants will also make a reconnaissance of the neighbourhood in which the target lives and works. This permits them to select positions of observation, the types of vehicles to use, the clothing to be worn, and the type of ruse to use that will give them an ordinary or normal appearance and a plausible reason to be in the area.

There are basically three forms of surveillance: foot, vehicle, and stationary.

A brief description of the most common techniques used for each of these forms and methods for detecting each one follow.