- Don't park in front of your claimants home. This sounds easy enough but in some places there doesn't seem to be any other option. If the only parking space on the road is right in front of his/her home, then park on another road.
- Park at least 5 houses away from your claimant if at all possible (Ref. 1). If that's not possible, consider parking in a business lot near their home where other cars will be parked as well. Quite often you can get a view of their home from here and if not, you can at least see their vehicles when they leave the neighborhood. I typically try to park at least a block away and I thoroughly love houses on the corner where I can park 2 or 3 blocks away and go completely undetected by my claimant.
- Park in between two houses along the road. Not literally in between them as if you drive up in their yard but, look for a parking spot that isn't in front of either house, but situated so that you're not directly in view of either house when they open their front door. This can be tricky but look for a spot like this anyway, even if it means you're only 3 or more than 7 houses away from your claimant.
- Never park your car in such a way that you can't make a quick exit. By this I mean back into parking spaces or park near the exit. This works for many reasons, the most important being your safety. If someone tries to block you in, you will be able to take the exit and flee. You can also get out easier if your claimant goes mobile.
- Try to park in a public parking lot with more than one exit. This makes it increasingly more difficult for anyone to block you in. I've backed into spots and still had people angle their car in front of me in such a way I could not leave. This is not a comfortable situation, trust me.
- Park in full view of a camera when in public parking lots that have them. Look for the camera, they're very common these days. This will protect you should any court action come of your watching a claimant/suspect. The camera could capture any incident, verify your whereabouts and activities, etc.
- Be mindful of how you park. If every other car in the parking lot faces north, then face your car north as well. Don't double park, don't go over the lines and don't get too close to the cars beside you. All of these little things will make you stand out or draw unwanted attention.
- Don't park near or under street lights. This is essential early in the mornings or after dusk. You do not want that light reflecting off of your car and giving away your position.
- Don't park in the same spot twice. If you're on an investigation on two or more consecutive days then make sure to find a new parking spot each day. This way if someone notices you one day you won't be there the next. People are always more suspicious if you come back.
- Obey parking laws. You have to be extra careful of where you park when the sun is not up. It's much more difficult to see a yellow, blue or red painted curb when there's no light in an area. Be mindful of where you can and cannot park. In some localities, it's illegal to park within 30 feet of a stop sign. To make sure I follow all the local laws, I observe the way other cars are parked in the neighborhood and follow suit. This avoids any unwanted (and non-reimbursable) tickets and potentially getting burned when the meter maid writes them.
1. Private Investigator Advice Headquarters