Advancing to the Modern Day Investigation Industry

Jay Marin

The investigation industry is one that dates to 1833. Eugene Francois Vidocq established a private investigation agency, the first of its kind. He, along with all the other detectives in the agency, was a former convict. He named the agency Le bureau des Renseignements, The Office of Intelligence.


The private agency worked on behalf of citizens. Investigators would do the work officers were not well-equipped for, according to Vidocq. Vidocq’s work reduced the crime rates in Paris a significant amount. But, Vidocq and his “investigators” would use tactics that would later imprison them. As ex-convicts, they matriculated well.

The Start of the Investigation Industry

In 1850, the private investigation industry became known in the United States. Allan Pinkerton was a former Chicago officer and private investigator. Mr. Pinkerton retired and opened his own private investigating agency.

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency became well-known for its various investigative successes. One success is he prevented the assassination of President-Elect, Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton was especially known for his integrity.

He based his agency on honor and working alongside law enforcement in solving crimes. Unlike Vidocq, he did not associate with criminals or accept bribes. Pinkerton hired the first female private investigator, which was not a norm in the 1800s.

Who can afford a PI?

It was not until the 1920s when wealth began to grow in the United States. Retaining a private investigator became available to the layman around this time. You could find investigators working on insurance cases, marital disputes, and white-collar crimes.

It seems not much has changed. As private investigators, we still work the typical surveillances, divorces and insurance cases. Yet, it isn’t the industry that is changing. The tactics and tools applied to conduct those cases that are advancing. The internet, technology, and social media have changed the investigative industry for good.

Keeping Up with the Industry

We, as investigators, must stay up to date on the latest technologies and gadgets that will aid us in solving a case. Getting accustomed to professional routines can be a blessing and detriment. Complacency breeds a lax attitude and mistakes.

For example, writing a report is something that can take a lot of time. A report can’t have mistakes. We now have access to a tool that you can dictate your report and it will transcribe it for you. There are plenty of other technologies available for you to become more efficient.

Our industry is one on the move, so we hosted the Modern Day Investigations Conference (MDI). MDI was a three-day conference bringing together investigators from all over the nation. Our presenters taught about new advances in the industry. Investigators had the opportunity to integrate the classic concepts with the modern-day methods.

We brought together some of the most well-known speakers in the industry. They discussed modern-day safety, security, protection, and interviewing tactics for all investigations. Our sponsors showcased the latest relevant technology in the industry.

If you joined us, thank you. We had a great time and learned quite a bit!


  • Collins, Colleen. “National and International Private Investigator Day: History of the Private Eye.” Guns, Gams & Gumshoes, 28 Dec. 2018,
  • Tikkanen, Amy. “Allan Pinkerton.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 21 Aug. 2018,
  • Walton, Geri. “The French Sherlock Holmes, Detective Eugène François Vidocq.”Geri Walton, 10 May 2018,

Author: Claudia Barrios