This week is an investigative deep-dive into sources and methods that are completely OSINT (no paid or restricted database services) to look behind the scenes into a police investigation of street crime and specifically an arrest on criminal charges of possession of crack cocaine.
Let me take you step-by-step into all the details you can find starting with little more than a dot on a map.
As a private investigator you have many sources and methods you use to solve cases including skip traces, surveillances, difficult process serves and whatnot, but just because a you can legally and ethically use a source or method, that doesn’t mean you should!
Your most lucrative clients will often be lawyers and law firms. Each one will have a different tolerance for risk.
Make sure you know if they have any investigative techniques they don’t want you to use on their cases.
For example, some lawyers don’t want any covert audio recordings even if it’s ethical and legal in your area because they feel it “looks bad” to judges and juries. The attorney may feel it just appears too sneaky and reflects poorly on their client. They just don’t want to risk a judge or jury member holding it a gains the client – even when it’s perfectly legal and ethical. They’re worried about the “appearance”.
When a private investigator does a background check, we usually aren’t too concerned about traffic offenses because we can run an abstract driving record through the Department of Motor Vehicles if we need that, but now, since the Summer of 2020, we need to be particularly careful about confusing legitimate protesters with illegal rioters since we can find they share similar criminal offenses in courthouse public records!
Protest vs Riot
Protest – Legitimate and legal. Protected by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (freedom of assembly).
Riot – Criminal. Usually marked by violence and looting. A crime in every state in the U.S.
Previously, as, P.I.’s, we’ve kind of ignored traffic offenses we find in the county courthouse criminal index when doing background checks. Not always, but a lot of the time. (Although for skip tracing traffic offenses can be extremely helpful!)
But, now, that may be different.
Both rioters and some legitimate protesters will have “traffic” citations for “Pedestrian in the Roadway”, “riding outside a vehicle” or similar “traffic” offenses.
If you see one of these types of tickets issued for the subject of your background investigation, you really need to be careful you don’t lump the legitimate protester in the same category as a rioter!
You need to do your due diligence to make sure when you report to a client that you don’t insinuate a legitimate protester with a ticket on the day, time and location of a chaotic scene downtown, doesn’t get the bad rap of a looter or rioter who was down there committing crime.
Do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.
Committed to helping you do the right thing,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here