I had been a PI for about 6 months before the Boston Bombing. I had trained with one of the best investigators in the field. I wasn't entirely uneducated in my methods, though still new to the game.
Before the Boston Marathon bombing I enjoyed a relatively easy time finding a place to park and watch my claimants. Nine times out of ten, no one paid any attention to me. The few who did usually had something going on they didn't want anyone to know. I've parked on rural streets where there were no public parking available, I've backed down abandoned driveways in plain sight of my claimants home and I had even parked in front of someones home and not been noticed at all.
I know for sure things changed the day Boston was bombed. I had been out on a case that morning and parked in a public parking lot at a business establishment. I was approximately 1 block from my claimant and was not any closer to any residence. The only person who noticed me was a worker at the business and he asked me if I was waiting for someone and I told him I was working and would be parked there a while. He was satisfied with that and didn't bother me again. I sat there for 10 hours that day.
When I got back to my hotel room I was relaxing and the news of the bombing came on. I, like so many others, was listening intently to find out what all had occurred and what was being done about it.
The next morning I went out on the same case, parked at the same business establishment. I called in my position to local law enforcement as required by the client. The male worker acknowledged me and went on in the door that morning. Later in the day I saw a state police car pull into the business. He came over to me and asked me who I was and what I was doing. I showed him my license and he told me they had "several" calls about my car from the neighborhood nearby.
"Several" calls. He said residents were concerned that I was trying to kidnap their kids. He stated that his first reaction to the call was that I was an undercover police unit and thus checked the postings on the board first before coming out. I told him I had called in my position that morning and he asked me who I called. I told him and he then informed me that I had called the county police but these people were calling the state police dispatch and the two didn't work together. We finished up our conversation and he left. I remained parked there and several residents had stared at the interaction. Before he left I had confirmed with him that my claimant hadn't been one of the calls by the way.
Fast forward to the next day. I was again on the same job. This time I thought it might be wise to park somewhere else. I still had a good view of the claimants home and was still on public property. I had sit there about 2 hours when a car pulled up beside me, questioning me in a rude tone. I didn't give him the answers he wanted because he kept asking me if I was law enforcement or worked for the state. You can only answer the same question so many times before you stop answering because it's getting you nowhere.As he left a few minutes later I noticed he drove 3 blocks away, well out of my view down a dead end neighborhood road. So I wondered what in his mind made him think I was watching him.
About 30 minutes later someone else came up to me in the same manner. He was much friendlier so I answered him and told him what I was doing there. He laughed a little and exclaimed "I got kids" and indicated that he just needed to be sure that I wasn't some crazy person stalking the neighborhood. He left and drove 2 blocks away.
Then a third person, one I know for sure had seen me talking to the police came and started giving me the evil eye. This person had talked to the police while they were in the parking lot with me. This person didn't come talk to me but instead drove to their home about 2 blocks away which was in view of my parking spot. They got out, stared at me and started talking to a neighbor and pointing at me.
On subsequent investigations I've also had similar issues. People are much more observant and quick to assume I have ulterior motives for being in their area, even if I'm not near their homes. I've found the same to hold true regardless of race.