Evidence and leads to evidence are oen gained through observation. ere
are several means of observation that are used in all types of investigations.
e investigator must keep in mind the rules that apply to recordings of
audio and visual observations in gathering this type of evidence.
Investigative observation can be viewed as going from informal to formal.
Being alert and observant is a necessary skill for any type of investigation, and
it is crucial in the criminal investigation of nancial and business activities.
Informal observations are made throughout the course of the investigation.
e attitude and demeanor of witnesses, the reaction to specic questions
or areas of questioning, and the nature of the relationship with the subject
expressed during an interview provide the investigator with potential tips for
the litigation aspect to come and potential leads to additional evidence.
Informal observations would include making note of possessions,
photos , and furnishings during the course of an interview with the subject
or a related entity. Such observation can provide valuable leads that may not
surface by other means during the investigation. is is especially true if the
interview is conducted in the home or oces of the subject, or during inter-
views of closely related individuals. It is also important to take a panoramic
approach and good notes during the execution of search warrants. Oen,
the leads on nancial dealings are on items that will not be taken during the
execution of a search warrant. is can be extremely valuable in those cases
where the investigator is condent that a warrant will not be used. Such type
of investigative observation is simple to accomplish and does not require a
great deal of time or resources.
An example of informal observations would be to note plaques, awards,
certicates, photographs, or artwork displayed on the walls in a home or
oce. Patience and recording of information in note taking can oen open
areas for discussion during the interview and establish lead information for
future contacts on the acquisition of assets or personal expenditures. Inone
investigation, the subject had a college degree in nance displayed on his
oce wall. e background check performed on the subject prior to the
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