What surveillance gathering is in its basic form is just another attack, albeit a passive (None violent) one that we have to combat.
Your task, either personally or as part of your job is to minimise the effectiveness of any form of surveillance by using counter and anti - surveillance skills.
For this post I'm just going to highlight a basic system that needs to be in place to combat hostile surveillance, surveillance carried out in-person. This requires you to be proactive; again both in your job and in your personal life.
If you are targeted by a stalker then being proactive means you can gain some semblance of control in your life. By being proactive you are choosing not to be a victim.
I briefly covered an aspect of surveillance in my first book under the chapter heading 'Combat Focused' where you become the ''Wolf' the bad guy. Where you pick targets. Remember that when planning your protection; put yourself in the position of the bad guy.
Surveillance conducted in-person by:
Friends you visit/meet
Places you visit
These procedures help you detect surveillance in place. It is a means of dominating the ground, either in the area of your principals residence if you work in close protection or in the area of your home or work if you are a citizen.
These procedures help you avoid, evade and lose hostiles, once you have established that you or your principal are under surveillance.
Like most other efforts that you undertake which have a goal that needs to be achieved, you need a plan of action.
Your protective effort starts off with you dominating the ground, in the areas of your home and at your place of work. Depending on your location you could use a number of options but below are two simple ways for you to become familiar with your everyday environment in an urban and rural setting.
You are in effect going to patrol your neighbourhood. But first you need to put yourself in the mindset of your enemy. It is they who want to watch you so think like they do.
If you; wanted to watch you where would you do it from?
Where would be the best place for you to see where you live without bringing too much attention to yourself?
How close would you need to get to see into your home and into different rooms, either with the Mark 1 eyeball, binoculars or telephoto lens?
From watching your home how would you follow yourself upon leaving the house?
At each stage of planning your protective effort start to think like your enemy, ask yourself questions, how would you do it?
Depending on the answers you get from some questions like the ones above you may have either a large or small area to patrol. In two different locations where I work i use two different systems.
In the urban setting i use colour codes for the streets. Each time a patrol is done it is done in relation to the colour of the streets. Each patrol area may have as little as 5 or 6 streets or as many as 20. This stops patrols being done in the same area over and over again while neglecting other areas of importance.
Each patrol is also tasked with different objectives. Vehicle checks, person checks, information gathering through chatting with locals and people working in the area for example.
The furthest street is no more than a ten minute walk away, any further and it is too far away for a Lay Up Point, more on those later.
In the rural setting, the area of operations (area around the home) is much larger and because of this it has to be split into two distinct sub-areas. Call them what you will, I use Bronze Area and Gold Area. Patrols in rural areas will combine both foot and mobile patrols, the reason for this is the size of the area concerned and checking of possible Lay Up Points, more on those below, but you will need to identify lay up points both in the urban and rural setting.
The Bronze area is the whole AOR (Area of Operations) I use a distance of 1 square Kilometre. The Gold area covers a circumference around the home, outside of the perimeter fence or wall which includes areas that can be used to view your residence. This may be a hill overlooking your home or a wood which gives cover and view points and can either be accessed by vehicle or on foot. It will also offer an easy get away route.
Vehicle patrols will be used in two ways, firstly to drop off a person who will be doing the foot patrol, if one is available. If you are a private citizen you can park your car and walk a route but just like security professionals always make sure you have good communications with whoever is at home. Rural settings are notorious for bad mobile phone coverage, so small inexpensive radios that will cover the distance are a great help.
The second is to check lay up points and nearby car parking areas. A lay up point is a place where a surveillance team or stalker will park prior to moving on to the intended target. Car parks, a lay-by or scrap of land for example. Here they will do a final check of equipment, communications or any admin tasks that need to be done.
We once spotted a whole Security Services surveillance team, about 15 strong in a lay-by with a burger van stationed there. As we drove up to the lay-by my team mate, who used to work for them recognised some of the faces. Turned out they were not watching us that time.
Lay up points in the urban setting can also be the drop off point if the surveillance is to be conducted on foot. As I said no further than a ten minute walk away.
While conducting counter surveillance patrols you must also be aware of the come on. On one particular day while doing a patrol I spotted an unmarked van in a prominent position. After some inspection by myself and another team member; we realised it was a surveillance van. Placed where it was it was useless as an asset. It turned out to be a plant, the surveillance team were further along the road recording our response and photographing the team.
Like I said, you have to make it hard for whoever is watching you to formulate a plan of attack, if that is their intent. You are in effect cutting down their options with regards to what they can achieve.
To keep a recording of what you see you will need some kit:
Camera or the camera on your phone for still and video photography
Note book and pen
You will also need to start keeping a log of what you see, who you see, times and locations for example, this builds up a picture of the life of your area. It helps you spot the out of the ordinary occurrences.
Keep in mind:
The absence of the normal and the presence of the abnormal!
This is a tiny fraction of a full counter surveillance operation but an invaluable asset to your security.
As a security professional or citizen, for work or your own personal security do you have your counter surveillance system in operation?
Is it basic or in-depth?
Do you want to learn more or learn how to set it up, do you want it setting up for you?
Don't make it easy for those who want to do you harm, be proactive.