Marketing is always big on my list of projects for my business. I love marketing. I can be creative and edgy while working on a project. There is nothing more rewarding than to see a good marketing effort benefit my company.
I currently have a lot of projects going that are big and small alike. Most are very traditional, while some are a little non-traditional. It’s the non-traditional efforts that can pay the highest returns. One of the non-traditional approaches I have involves going after private cases that have been taboo to most investigators over the years.
We all know the typical private cases and what they entail. What your typical cases are depends on your specialty. But, if you’re a small operation like me, you are always looking for different types of cases.
I look at myself as being the detective equivalent to a general practitioner in the medical field. Size, area and other factors keep me from specializing, and that’s fine with me. Variety is at the core of my operation.
One of the areas that I’ve tapped into is what I call the ‘crack cases.’ Not because they involve the drug crack, but because they involve cases that have fallen through the cracks. Most of these cases I’m talking about probably should have been handled by law enforcement. But they weren’t and now the victims are left with seemingly nowhere to turn.
Why does this happen? Many different reasons come to mind, i.e., pride, ego, limited staff or attitude perhaps. But for whatever reason, these cases have fallen through the cracks and the victims cannot get justice.
In the sixties and seventies, law enforcement was riddled with corruption. The profession began a period of cleansing in the eighties and early nineties. Then in the mid-nineties the college graduates took leadership positions and their main focus was ‘professionalism’ and image. This was needed to a degree, but in a lot of cases it was taken too far.
Suddenly some cases weren’t worthy of being worked. That still holds true today to some extent. A victim is then left to ask what are they supposed to do when this happens to them? Where can they turn to get justice? In my area, I hope they turn to me! I make it very clear that I am more than happy to be hired to help someone law enforcement can’t or won’t help. I have taken calls from people that have been wronged in different fashions and these have turned into cases for my company.
Missing children, theft, bad checks and other cases that appear to be clear violations of the law to name a few. Most of the time, the victim tells me that they were advised their problem was a ‘civil matter’ and could not be handled by law enforcement. At first glance, I can understand where that statement may have come from. However, after further review, that call may be reversed.
When dealing with the victim, I tell them that I will send their prosecutor a full report of my findings if the case goes in that direction. I will also make them aware of the fact that my findings can probably be used in the civil court arena as well. Most of them don’t really care what kind of relief they get, just so they can get some type of relief. If your work produces a strong civil case, e.g., they can collect monetary damages, they are just as happy or happier than going the criminal route.
All of this amounts to one thing: There is another niche out there that you, as an investigator, can explore. You have to make yourself available and make yourself known as an investigator who is willing to be open-minded and non-traditional. If you don’t look at these ‘crack cases,’ or if you automatically dismiss them, you are turning your back not only on a person who needs help, but also on another income source for your business.
Dale R. Seward
P.O. Box 51
113 South Washington Street
Dale Seward had about ten years of law enforcement experience prior to starting his own private detective business. He has around six in the private field and specializes in business services, but also investigates criminal and several civil type cases.