arrowHistory of Private Investigators

Private investigators have been around for many years, the first recorded instance of an official private detective agency operating dates back to 1833 in Paris where a soldier and one time criminal Eugene Francois Vidocq set up a business that involved the hiring of ex-convicts and criminals to carry out operations that the police of the day would not undertake.

This gentleman however is credited with helping shape the way in which certain types of investigation and police investigation are carried out. For example Vidocq is officially credited with his forms of record keeping to assist operations as well as creating plaster casts of impressions left by shoes on various surfaces. Some of his early breakthroughs and methods of investigations were so vital that they are still used by French police today many years later.

In the United States, private detectives began to take shape in the late 19th century when Pinkerton National Detective Agency rose to the public eye through a variety of successful investigation stories. One of the most famous being the foiling of an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln.

The Pinkerton Detective Agency grew in fame over the years and were recognised as specialising in tracking people down, providing security guards in union disputes, undercover investigations and detection of crime methods. All of the above services are wholly or partially offered as services by most reputable private investigators in the modern era as detection, being undercover, security and people tracing are all mass requirements of commercial and private customers alike.

The 1920s saw a massive change in the demand for private investigators in the US due to the boom in middle class workers and residents requiring the services of a private detective agency on an ongoing basis or just from time to time.

America’s private detectives in particular have evolved from state to state with legal qualifications, requirements and licensing factors all needed to operate as a detective agency. In contrast to the UK where anybody can claim to be a private detective and indeed set up a business as such, the US is much stricter and factors such as an individuals past and criminal records all come into account before an individual can enter this line of work.

As time has evolved of course the services being offered by private investigators has also changed dramatically, for example the introduction of the internet has played a huge part in re-shaping society across the world which has also expanded the detection methods undertaken by an investigation agency.

One thing is for certain; Insight have been operating for over 30 years and we have seen huge changes from year to year, never mind decade to decade. Here at Insight we adhere to Pinkerton Detective Agency’s age old motto, “We Never Sleep”…

For an overview of services provided by a legitimate, experienced, modern-day investigation agency, please visit