What is the difference between a Pattern-of-Life and Surveillance Investigation?

One question we get asked a lot is: “I don’t know what they’re doing…I just want to be sure.”  When our clients call a private investigator, they have a question that they need help answering.  For a domestic investigation (infidelity, child custody, etc.) our clients usually have a specific concern they’d like us to investigate.  Other times they may not have specific details they’d like us to investigate but want to know a broad range of actions over time.  So, what is the difference between a Pattern-of-Life and a Surveillance investigation?

Surveillance is both a skill set and a type of investigation.  It can be described more specifically as a private investigator documenting a specific subject (person, location, etc.) with a specific item to discover.  This is what is referred to as a surveillance investigation.  So, what if there is not a specific goal of the investigation but instead our client just wants to know the subject’s action?  This is what is referred to as a Pattern-of-Life investigation.  The private investigator will watch a subject (person, location, etc.) and document all behavior or activities during that timeframe.

So, when should you utilize a Pattern-of-Life investigation over a surveillance?  The two types of investigation seem similar, and in a lot of ways they are, but there are a few differences.  They both commonly utilize the same skill set of the investigator, they will use the same equipment most of the time, and the same rules apply to what we can and can’t do.  But, if the goal is to get a broad picture of a specific subject’s actions during a specific timeframe, then a Pattern-of-Life investigation is what you’re looking for.

Here are two examples:

A client calls Double G Investigation Firm and wants to see if their partner is cheating on them.  Their partner is coming home late from work on Tuesdays and Fridays and goes directly to the shower after they get home.  Our client thinks their partner is meeting another lover during these “working late” nights.  Double G Investigation Firm is hired to do surveillance on the subject during the timeframe after work on Tuesday and Friday.  This is a surveillance investigation.

Another client calls Double G Investigation Firm and is concerned that their partner is not being honest with them about something…but not sure what.  They are getting a “weird vibe” from their partner and the intimacy has dissipated a little bit in their relationship.  They are not sure if their partner is cheating, stressed out over something or just having a bad period in their life.  Our client is concerned and wants to know more about what their partner has going on in their lives when they’re not together.  Double G Investigation Firm is hired to observe the subject over time and record their behavior, people they’ve interacted with and locations they’ve been too.  There is not a desired result of the investigation.  Instead, the client just wants to know what is going on.  This is a Pattern-of-Life investigation.

When you contact Double G Investigation Firm we will get as much information from you as to your situation, who the players are and what your goal of the investigation is.  Once we discuss this, we will recommend which type of investigation is right for you.  With either one……you’re getting the Double G dedication to your case.

Pattern of Life
Pattern of Life

Double G Investigation Firm is a professional private investigation firm located in the Northern Virginia area. We specialize in background check, surveillance and process serving along with other services.