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Performing Physical Surveillance




Physical surveillance stands for the methodical and inconspicuous tracking of a person to gather data on their comings and goings. Unlike its high-tech counterpart, this old-school method demands that observers keep a watchful eye on their target in person. It's the bread and butter for anyone needing to keep tabs on someone without break, across lengthy stretches of time.


Carrying out surveillance with finesse requires a strategy as well-coordinated as a military campaign, employing tactics that ensure the target remains oblivious. The hallmark of a successful surveillance operation is its ghost-like presence—unseen by the target, their acquaintances, or any Joe Bloggs on the street.


The endgame of surveillance is to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of the target's actions that align with the mission's goals. This puzzle doesn't come together overnight; it's the product of painstakingly collected bits of information that gradually reveal the target's behavioural blueprint.


Typically starting with just a smattering of clues about the target's habits, a surveillance operation ramps up by zeroing in on specific times or behaviours worth watching. As snippets of data accumulate, a pattern analysis helps predict the target's next move, enabling the surveillance crew to focus their efforts where the likelihood of payoff is greatest, thereby minimising their own exposure to the target.


Concealment is key, whether it's behind the wheel of a nondescript van or lurking in the shadows of a building. The cover of darkness, too, serves as an ally in masking the surveillance effort.


The concepts of "cover" and "cover for action" are critical to maintaining the operation's stealth. "Cover" is about blending in—on foot, it means merging with the crowd; in a vehicle, it's about becoming just another face in traffic. "Cover for action," however, requires a bit more craft—like using a phone booth not just as a hideout but actually making a call to justify the presence.


Surveillance splits into two flavours: fixed and mobile. Fixed surveillance watches from a single spot, ideal for when the target is expected to show up at a particular place. This method gives a narrow view, suited for specific tasks. Mobile surveillance, on the other hand, takes the observation on the road, tailing the target wherever they venture, either on foot or by wheels. Sometimes, these two methods join forces, using stationary posts to bolster a mobile tracking effort. From the author.



The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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