- January 12, 2023
- Posted by: ACM Investigations LLC
- Category: News
The history of private investigators in the United States can be traced back to the mid-1800s, when Allan Pinkerton formed the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton, a Scottish immigrant, had previously worked as a cooper and a police officer in Chicago. In 1850, he was appointed as the first detective in the city’s police force. However, after he exposed a ring of counterfeiters, he received death threats and resigned from the police force. He then founded his own agency, which became one of the most successful detective agencies in the country.
Pinkerton’s agency was known for taking on high-profile cases and was even hired by the U.S. government to track down criminals such as the notorious outlaw Jesse James. In 1874, Pinkerton’s agents were able to capture James’ accomplice, Robert Ford, which lead to the outlaw’s death. Pinkerton’s agency was also known for its role in strikebreaking, as well as providing security for railroads and other industries.
Another notable private investigator from this period was William J. Burns, who founded the William J. Burns International Detective Agency. Burns was known for his undercover work and had a reputation for being able to infiltrate any organization. He was also the head of the U.S. Bureau of Investigation (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation) for a short time.
During the early 20th century, private investigators began to branch out and specialize in various fields. For example, many investigators began to focus on providing industrial espionage, while others specialized in insurance fraud investigations. With the advent of modern technology, private investigators began to use tools such as surveillance cameras and GPS tracking devices to aid in their investigations.
One of the more interesting private investigator from the 20th century is a man named “The Shadow” or Richard Gallagher, who is credited with coining the term “shadowing” as a synonym for surveillance. He was known to be one of the best tailing experts of his time and his case files include many celebrities and politicians.
In the present day, private investigators continue to be an important part of the criminal justice system, working alongside law enforcement to investigate crimes, gather evidence, and locate missing persons. With the growing reliance on technology, many private investigators now specialize in cybercrime investigations, tracking down online predators and identifying those involved in organized cybercrime.
Dates to remember:
- 1850 – Allan Pinkerton starts his detective agency
- 1874 – Allan Pinkerton’s agents capture Robert Ford
- 1908 – William J. Burns founds the William J. Burns International Detective Agency
This is very interesting, I’m a licensed Private Investigator/ Armed Security and I’m always looking for stories on Private Investigators, I have always wanted to be in this field of work and was finally able to get my license, thank you for sharing this and I’m glad I came across your business