The History of a Private Investigator

In 1833, Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier, thief and businessman, created the first established private detective service, “The Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le commerce et l’Industrie,” and employed ex-convicts. Learn more about this at private investigators Columbia SC

Public law enforcement has attempted several times to lock him down. In 1842 he was detained by police on charges of wrongful incarceration and obtaining money under fraudulent pretences after he had settled a case of embezzlement. Earlier Vidocq thought it was a scam. He was sentenced to five years and a penalty of 3,000 francs but restored by the Court of Appeals. Vidocq is associated with the contribution to forensic justice in record-keeping, criminology and ballistics. He made observations of the first plaster casts of feet. He and his printing business produced indelible ink and unalterable bond stock. His anthropometric type is now used in part by French police. He is often known with philanthropic activities-he said that he never knew someone who had robbed because of genuine need.

The industry was born after the Vidocq. Many of what private detectives accomplished in the early days was to serve as the police in things their clients thought the police had not been prepared or able to do. To support businesses with industrial conflicts became a broader task for this modern private investigation business. Several early private investigators found trained guards ready to serve as a private militia.

Throughout the United Kingdom, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency was a private detective service founded by Allan Pinkerton throughout 1850. When Pinkerton foiled a attempt to kill then President-Elect Abraham Lincoln, he had become popular. Pinkerton’s officers operated programs ranging from undercover operations and fraud prevention to plant safety and protected surveillance. It is often said, maybe with exaggeration, that the Pinkerton National Detective Service had more investigators than the United States Army at the height of its existence.

In the late 19th century industrial strife, businesses often employed Pinkerton agents and security guards and related departments to force demonstrators and potential unionists out of their factories. The most prominent example of this was the 1892 Homestead Revolt, when industrialist Henry Clay Frick employed a huge contingent of Pinkerton people to re-occupy Andrew Carnegie’s steel mill after a lock-out at Homestead, Pennsylvania. Gunfire exploded between the protesters and the Pinkertons contributing to several casualties on both sides. A few days later Alexander Berkman, a militant revolutionary, attempted to kill Frick. Amid the Homestead Massacre, so-called “anti-Pinkerton” legislation were enacted by some states prohibiting the importation of private security guards during labor disputes. The Federal Anti-Pinkerton Act of 1893 seeks to bar “an person working by the Pinkerton Detective Agency or related agency” from being working by “the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia.” Pinkerton agents were also recruited to capture western outlaws, including Butch Cassidy and the Falcon, Jesse James, the Reno brothers, and the Wild Bunch. The emblem of the Pinkerton firm, an eye decorated with the words “We Never Sleep,” influenced the name “private eye.” It wasn’t until the boom of the 1920s that the private investigator was an open figure to the ordinary American. With the prosperity of the 1920s and the growth of the middle class, private investigators began to require Middle America.

The private investigator business has expanded ever after with growing public needs. Social problems such as infidelity and unionization have changed the sector and generated different forms of jobs, as has the demand for protection and, with it, protection evasion, inquiries into criminal defense and the development of low-cost listening tools. A certification mechanism has been adopted in a variety of countries and has defined requirements that prosecutors must meet: in most situations, a clear criminal background. This has been paired with new corporate standards that have meant that most analysts are already outlook qualified, rather than treating the PI field as a second career option for former police officers.