Today I’m sharing some slides from a presentation my husband-PI-partner and I gave last April at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  The conference took place in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado, which over the last few weeks has been devastated by fires.  A mystery writer we know lost her home in that fire, and one thing she’s especially sad about losing are her many books, so we’ve sent her an Amazon gift card to help rebuild her collection.  The Red Cross is another way to donate to help those who’ve lost homes/possessions or suffered otherwise due to the fires.  Here’s a link to the Red Cross Colorado donation page (you can select all of Colorado or a specific region): American Red Cross Colorado Chapters.

Today’s blog: Why PIs Are Called Gumshoes.

There are many types of “on foot” type of investigations a PI might conduct, however in these slides we’re focusing on canvassing neighborhoods, with a story how that technique (among others) was used to find a reluctant witness in a gang-related case.

Slides and Notes

Canvassing a neighborhood includes such tasks as checking for indicators that someone might live or be visiting there, as well as possible suggestions from neighbors or family members as to where a person might live or how they might be contacted.

While canvassing neighborhoods, a private investigator might be upfront and reveal that he/she is a PI looking for someone, or the investigator might use a story to obtain information.

In this case, two gangs had engaged in a fight where our client had been wounded.  However, when we went door to door asking for any witnesses to the event, nobody wanted to discuss it because they were afraid of gang retaliation. Next, we posted handbills around the neighborhood with a phone number that any potential witnesses could call anonymously–and that did the trick.  A woman called, and although she refused to give her name or her personal phone number (she’d called from a public phone), agreed to meet us at the scene where the gang fight had occurred and be interviewed about what she saw.


Often, PIs combine their Internet research with “on foot” investigation

Many people think that PIs do most, if not all, of their investigative work on computers these days, but as you can see/read in today’s blog, that’s not the case.  PIs still “gumshoe” it to conduct interviews, review scenes of crimes, post flyers and more.  Even in cases where we research the Internet for data, we’ll often follow that up with some gumshoe work.  For example, let’s say we find a possible home address for someone on the Internet–we might follow that up with a brief surveillance to verify the person actually lives there.

Have a good week!