Private Detectives and Investigators

Description

Gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

Tasks

  • Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.
  • Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.
  • Obtain and analyze information on suspects, crimes, or disturbances to solve cases, to identify criminal activity, or to gather information for court cases.
  • Conduct background investigations of individuals, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual's character, financial status or personal history.
  • Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.
  • Testify at hearings or court trials to present evidence.
  • Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals' character or financial status.
  • Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.
  • Alert appropriate personnel to suspects' locations.
  • Perform undercover operations, such as evaluating the performance or honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees.
  • Investigate companies' financial standings or locate funds stolen by embezzlers, using accounting skills.
  • Expose fraudulent insurance claims or stolen funds.
  • Confer with establishment officials, security departments, police, or postal officials to identify problems, provide information, or receive instructions.
  • Apprehend suspects and release them to law enforcement authorities or security personnel.
  • Count cash and review transactions, sales checks, or register tapes to verify amounts or to identify shortages.
  • Warn troublemakers causing problems on establishment premises and eject them from premises when necessary.
  • Monitor industrial or commercial properties to enforce conformance to establishment rules and to protect people or property.

Skills

Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Troubleshooting
Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Abilities

Wrist-Finger Speed
The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Rate Control
The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Speed of Limb Movement
The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
Dynamic Strength
The ability to exert muscle force repeatedly or continuously over time. This involves muscular endurance and resistance to muscle fatigue.

Work Activities

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Interests

Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Lay Titles

Alarm Investigator
Asset Protection Detective
Asset Protection Manager
Assets Protection Specialist
Background Investigator
Bonding Agent
Cash Shortage Investigator
Detective
Detective Investigator
District Agent
Fraud Analyst
Fraud Investigator
House Detective
House Officer
Insurance Investigator
Intelligence Agent
Investigations Director
Investigator
Loss Prevention Agent
Loss Prevention Analyst
Loss Prevention Associate
Loss Prevention Detective
Loss Prevention Investigator
Loss Prevention Manager
Loss Prevention Officer
Loss Prevention Specialist
Missing Persons Investigator
Private Detective
Private Eye
Private Investigator
Security Analyst
Security Consultant
Security Manager
Shopping Investigator
Skip Locator
Skip Tracer
Special Investigator
Store Detective
Target Protection Specialist
Undercover Agent
Undercover Operator

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$21.99 hourly, $45,740 annual.
Employment (2008):
23,390 employees