I’m now going to direct some attention to my book and surveillance in the private sector. One thing that I did not go into great detail in the book was how I go about downsizing without compromising essential surveillance equipment. There is so much equipment involved in a surveillance that things can easily get lost or misplaced when you need them the most. One area where I’ve tried to create space and comfort has been with my personal belongings. These things have nothing to do with surveillance per se, but they can create discomfort and at times take up space that can be used for additional surveillance equipment. The wallet, for example, is one of those things.
I use to have one of those tri fold wallets where I had all my worldly possessions. It was bulky and difficult to sit with in my back pocket, but I needed its contents to be close by. I then came across these new, and attractive, minimalist wallets. After doing some research I locked into one that really got my attention called, “The Ridge Wallet.” This wallet has a slick look and surface that allows for the wallet to easily slide in and out of my pocket. The wallet is the size of my credit card and driver’s license and fits comfortably into any pocket without any bulk. Since the wallet is able to hold up to 12 cards I’ve downsized the amount of credentials I carry to between 7 to 9. These are my most important items such as my ID, driver’s license, credit card, vehicle registration card etc. I carry mine in my front pocket and it’s very comfortable and almost invisible. The wallet I carry also has RFID blocking that protects your credit cards from identity thieves that carry wireless devices to capture your credit card information. Below I’ve provided a link and some photos of the wallet mentioned above.
One other thing you can do to try and create some additional space is to use a system like Apple Pay. It reduces the need for you to carry multiple credit cards. However, you should always have at least one credit card or debit card handy. Not every vendor supports applications like Apple Pay, and what if you lose your phone or your battery dies. Remember the need to always be prepared and have a backup plan in this business.
Next is my key chain. Carrying around a key ring with my keys was also bulky and uncomfortable, not to mention the noise it made when walking in areas where I wanted to be quiet and unnoticed. So after some research I learned about an alternative to the traditional key rings and other key holding devices. I came across this Key Caddy shown below. It was made by a company called, “Liquid” but I’m not sure if they make it anymore. Nevertheless, there are other companies out there that make a similar device. This Key caddy works like my Ridge Wallet. It slides easily into my pocket and creates no bulk. At times, I even carry my Ridge wallet and this Key Caddy in the same pocket and experience no discomfort at all. I’ve provided a link below in the event they start making this Key Caddy again.
On days that I have to conduct a strict foot surveillance I carry a Browning Black Label Sling Bag. It allows me to remain small and discrete as I carry the necessary equipment to conduct a proper surveillance. Since the bag is smaller than what I typically carry I have to use my iPad because my laptop will not fit. Either way I’m still able to operate effectively because the bag has lots of pockets and unique features that allow me to even add other storage compartments in the form of MOLLE’s (Velcro or strapped storage compartments that can be attached to your bag). Below I’ve provided a YouTube video describing the bag along with a photo of my own bag.
Finally, one of the main concerns while on foot surveillance is battery life for your devices, primarily your phone. In the past, I’ve used a battery case, by Mophie, that was designed to be attached to my phone. This would allow me to activate the battery case whenever the battery was low, without me having to take out a separate portable device to charge the phone. It was great and I highly recommend it. At this time however, I’ve decided to carry a portable charger that is not attached to my phone because I have other devices that need charging when I’m in the field conducting a foot surveillance. Either way the decision is yours and what fits your style. I hope some of these tips have been helpful. The purpose for this blog was to provide some ideas on how to become small and discrete and still be effective at surveillance work. Below I’ve provide a link to one of the Mophie devices just mentioned.