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Series 2 – Blog #8 – The Pros and Cons of Surveillance (Suburban)

There’s no telling where your mark may go, so this month we’re offering a guide on the pro and cons of surveillance in cities, suburbs, and rural areas with tips to mitigate the cons.

Suburbs are quint places that are harder to blend into because they aren’t as diverse as cities. Places like Waukesha and Appleton require a special touch and the right preparation for successful private investigative work. Especially if you’re watching a residential address.

Suburb Pros

  • Easy to follow a mark. Traffic is fluid and easy to watch, so you can keep your distance without tipping anyone off either on foot or in a car.
  • You can linger. Walking up and down a main street block, sitting at a coffee shop for hours, driving slow past a row of houses. None of these will catch immediate attention.
  • People are friendly. If your gathering information instead of waiting with a camera, chatting with suburbanites in a café or out on a walk is not abnormal. Make sure you have a story; a good one is scoping out a potential neighborhood for a move.

Suburb Cons

  • Parking restrictions. Many suburbs have parking restrictions, both in the terms of time limits and limited spots. Talk to small business owners, see if they’d be willing to let you park in their driveway or business spots.
  • Community culture. Each suburb has its own micro culture, and those who don’t blend in will be noticed. A beat up Ford will stick out in an upper-class neighborhood, while a shiny new Prius will turn heads in a poorer area. Do your research and use appropriate props.
  • Gated communities. If you don’t have permission, you won’t be able to get in without breaking trespassing laws. Instead, watch the entrance/exit and utilize Google Earth. The satellite image will not be the most up to date, but can still reveal clues.

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