What Do Private Investigators Really Do?

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What Do Private Investigators Really Do?

One of the questions I get asked a lot from people who are not familiar with my business is about exactly what do we do. Like most things in life, if you don’t have any experience in a particular area, then the only things you know about that topic is what you have seen, heard, or read. Private investigators have long been the focus of movies, TV shows, and books. So I encounter people all the time whose only understanding of what a private investigator does is what they have seen on a television show.

Unfortunately, what I typically do has almost no resemblance to what you have seen on a television show, whether it was Peter Gunn, Joe Mannix, Barnaby Jones, Jim Rockford, Thomas Magnum (for the old-timers) or Veronica Mars, Kalinda Sharma, or Rick Castle (for a newer take). Other PI’s might have a different story, and there are many different types of cases and areas of work that investigators get hired to do. But when I talk with my colleagues, most of us agree that we spend a fair amount of time explaining to people what we won’t or can’t do, as well as how we can help them.

Certainly, this is a business. However, one of our company’s founding principles was that we exist to help people. If we don’t think we can help a potential client, we won’t take the job.

Pursuit MagazineRecently, I wrote an article for Pursuit Magazine, on online publication about the field of professional investigations. In this article, I wrote about one experience I had when working on a criminal case, supporting the legal team of the defendant in the case. It is not intended as a how-to, or a tell all, but rather as an opportunity to pull back the curtain and allow others to see what a real experience is like for those that don’t know anything about what a private investigator might really be doing in this type of situation. I would love for you to read it by going here.

So if you read that, did it live up to what you imagined it would be like to be a private investigator? I would love to know what you think. Include you comments at the bottom of the article, or here at the bottom of this page. I read them all, and try to respond as best I can.

If you would like a little more insight into how we operate at Owens Investigations, you can read another article that I wrote for Pursuit last year. It talks about some of the cases we haven’t taken, and why we did not think our potential client would be best served by retaining us, or any private investigator, in their particular situation. Again, this may not be how every PI does it, but it is how we do it, and I am proud of that fact.

I hope you enjoy reading a little bit about how we operate. If you have thoughts, comments, or questions, I would love to hear them!



Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations. He also enjoys writing and tweeting!



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