Traits of a Good New York City Private Detective

Not everyone is who they seem to be, in New York as anywhere else. That’s why there is a continual need for private detectives in New York—whether for personal cases, corporate cases, or on behalf of the general public. Private detectives can find the culprits behind identity theft, out someone who’s not who they say they are, and uncover evidence for divorce cases and lawsuits. But not all detectives bring the same talents to the table.

Here’s what to look for when hiring a private detective in New York City:

Confidentiality. This is the single biggest aspect of professionalism for private detectives, and it’s something you cannot, and should not, compromise on. In the field of detective work, there are numerous opportunities to accidentally let slip a vital detail that tells all too much, and experienced detectives know how to identify and avoid these situations, as well as provide total security in their communications with you or your legal team. Generally, information is the currency of detectives and a firm’s ability to handle and protect delicate information is the number one thing to look for before you hire them. Ask about how they will communicate with you, their internal security policies including data security, and under what circumstances will they disclose details to parties other than yourself.

Discretion. Although related to confidentiality, discretion is a separate and equally important part of a private detective’s work. Private detectives frequently find themselves surveying homes or businesses and asking delicate questions. Their ability to do so discreetly is what ensures that no one suspects a detective is poking around. For example, if a client wants to find out whether their spouse is being unfaithful, the job doesn’t just involve gathering proof—it involves doing so without the spouse noticing that anything is different. A good detective will know how to approach even the most delicate situations in a way where they won’t stand out, be noticed or be remembered.

Experience. Experience makes a difference in most fields, but seldom so much as it does in the field of private detective work. The best detectives build up a habit of noticing small details, of asking the right questions, of piecing together connections that other people would miss—the much touted “gut instinct.” This instinct exists because it is honed on hundreds or even thousands of past cases. Experience is essential.

Knowledge of computers and cyber cases. Increasingly, more and more cases can be solved by careful online research. Many individuals don’t realize how much information exists about them online, and lawyers can make use of online data to construct convincing cases, but only if that data is found in the first place. Your private detective should be well versed in cyber investigations and able to use online research side by side with feet-on-the-ground sleuthing.


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