“Surveillance” by Dyson

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The tenth chapter of the book by Dyson (2015) is titled “Surveillance.” It reviews the key features of various approaches to surveillance that are not technology-assisted. In particular, the author considers different types of officer behavior (moving, fixed, and combination surveillance) and various methods of coverage. The author uses evidence that can be supported by outside sources and demonstrates that the psychological and behavioral features of terrorists, including their awareness and caution, should be taken into account when applying surveillance to their cases.

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In a continuation of the discussion of the investigative techniques appropriate for terrorism, Dyson (2015) describes one of the first tools of law enforcement: surveillance. The author defines it as the purposeful visual observation of a target (which may be a person or location) with the aim of obtaining incriminating information. Dyson (2015) also highlights the fact that it should be performed by investigators because the tenth chapter considers non-technologic surveillance. The author focuses on its value, drawbacks, and types, demonstrating that the careful use of different approaches to this investigative technique can be helpful in working with terrorists if the behavioral and phycological specifics of the latter are taken into account.

When considering the advantages of surveillance, Dyson (2015) highlights the fact that this technique produces reliable and recent (real-time) evidence. The major disadvantage of surveillance is the fact that it is resource-consuming, especially with respect to qualified workers, which restricts small agencies from using it. The issue is especially important since surveillance does not guarantee results; the resources might end up being wasted.

The types of surveillance that the author describes depending on the officer’s movements; they include the fixed, moving, and combination approaches. This classification appears in other recent sources as well, which means that it is reliable (Benny, 2016; Prunckun, 2014). The mentioned types have advantages and disadvantages and can be used in specific cases; for instance, if a meeting is to be observed, it may be logical to employ the fixed or combination approach, even though these two methods demand notable resources. It is noteworthy that the fixed approach is more secure than the moving one due to it being more difficult to detect; this fact is supported by Benny (2016) and Prunckun (2014) as well. Also, Dyson (2015) suggests reviewing the methods of conducting surveillance, which include the coverage of events or particular spots, as well as the coverage that is either restricted to specific periods of time or occurs around the clock. These methods can be employed depending on the need for surveillance.

The specifics of terrorist surveillance seem to correspond to the features that Dyson (2015) lists for terrorism-aimed investigative techniques in general. These specifics depend on terrorists’ behavior and psychology, and this information is supported by additional evidence (Altier, Thoroughgood, & Horgan, 2014; Canter, Sarangi, & Youngs, 2014). In particular, terrorists are knowledgeable and careful, which helps them to notice the fact that they are under surveillance. Moreover, they represent organized crime, and they are likely to inform their group about the fact of surveillance should they discover it. However, the author also highlights the fact that surveillance can produce witnesses to the cases of terrorists, which is a valuable outcome, especially since terrorists can intimidate other witnesses. Also, Dyson (2015) suggests that the terrorists trained in surveillance techniques may become careless after they realize how much effort and restriction protection from surveillance implies.

The main piece of advice that Dyson (2015) offers is the combination of different types of surveillance, which should help to exploit their varied advantages while mitigating their respective disadvantages in certain cases. Another suggestion is that the hints that signify the suspicion of the terrorists should lead to the abortion of surveillance so that the whole group does not relocate. Also, officers need to be carefully prepared for various events; for instance, they should know what to respond to the question about their reason to be in a particular place. Finally, Dyson (2015) insists that the documentation of surveillance is of primary importance.

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In this chapter, Dyson (2015) offers logical arguments; the text is structured, which facilitates reading and understanding. Moreover, Dyson (2015) includes examples from real life practice, which make the chapter’s points more specific and provide proof to the author’s words. The way the author specifies the advantages and disadvantages of every approach to surveillance, as well as the specifics of their employment, makes the information actionable. Also, the author’s coverage of the topic is commendable: Dyson (2015) mentions the crucial aspects of surveillance, including advantages, disadvantages, and types. Finally, the topic of the chapter (surveillance) is applied to the topic of the book (terrorism) in extensive detail and provides practically helpful advice.

The tenth chapter by Dyson (2015) is a comprehensive analysis of the topic of non-technologic surveillance. The author presents pertinent information in a logical manner, employing examples and details to make it more applicable to practice. The chapter demonstrates that the specifics of terrorism, which affect the employment of investigative techniques, are of importance to surveillance as well, which means that care and attention are required from officers. Apart from that, the combination of different approaches to surveillance can help to mitigate some of their disadvantages while combining their advantages. Using reliable information, the author shows that as one of the first approaches to investigation, surveillance can be most helpful in investigating terrorism cases.


Altier, M. B., Thoroughgood, C. N., & Horgan, J. G. (2014). Turning away from terrorism: Lessons from psychology, sociology, and criminology. Journal of Peace Research, 51(5), 647-661. Web.

Benny, D. J. (2016). Private investigation and homeland security. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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Canter, D., Sarangi, S., & Youngs, D. (2014). Terrorists’ personal constructs and their roles: A comparison of the three Islamic terrorists. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 19(1), 160-178. Web.

Dyson, W. E. (2015). Terrorism: An investigator’s handbook. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.

Prunckun, H. (2014). Scientific methods of inquiry for intelligence analysis. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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