The ability to detect and identify vehicle surveillance requires a keen understanding of how a surveillance teams operates. Prior to a surveillance team implementing active vehicle surveillance, efforts are made to access the target's normal driving patterns. This planning phase of the operation allows a surveillance team to seamlessly mirror the target's vehicle maneuvers while following without being compromised.
The primary objective of the target of vehicle surveillance is to expose any potential surveillance vehicles without alerting the surveillance. Once a surveillance team is alerted, the target may be pursued aggressively or more sophisticated surveillance techniques may be employed as counter measures.
There are specific vehicle maneuvers a target can execute to expose potential surveillance without being compromised. Each maneuver must be executed flawlessly to avoid alerting the surveillance team. Vehicle surveillance operators are trained, based on previous knowledge of the target's normal driving patterns, to anticipate possible maneuvers the target might attempt.
A vehicle surveillance team is operating based on a keen understanding of the target's normal driving patterns. Some drivers tend to drive the speed limit while others normally exceed the speed limit. For example, if a target known to be a careful driver suddenly starts driving faster, the vehicle surveillance may view this maneuver as suspicious or aggressive and react accordingly. The same scenario holds true to a target known to drive erratically or above the speed limit and then for no seemingly apparent reason starts to drive slowly or more cautiously when a surveillance vehicle is following.
To detect vehicle surveillance and to avoid alerting potential surveillance, any driving pattern changes made by the target must appear normal or plausible. For example, to expose a surveillance vehicle a target might execute a U-turn. If the target is a careful driver then making an erratic sudden U-turn will alert a surveillance vehicle following. Therefore, the target must execute the U-turn for a plausible reason.
For example, if there are too many cars in the left hand lane waiting to make a left hand turn at an upcoming intersection, the target vehicle could make a U-turn at the next available legal point to avoid traffic. Executing the maneuver this way would not be seen as necessarily suspicions to a surveillance team following. However, by making a U-turn, the surveillance vehicle or vehicles will need to react and most likely will pull off the road or into a nearby parking lot to reacquire the target.
After executing the U-turn the target can safely pay note and identify any vehicles, which suddenly pull off the road or turn into parking lots. Normally a surveillance vehicle would not mirror same U-turn for fear of being exposed.
Another vehicle maneuver for exposing potential vehicle surveillance involves a target driving on a highway. Given the speed and cover of other vehicle, a vehicle surveillance team does have advantage of being able to follow the target without being noticed. To detect vehicle surveillance a target might decide to get off at nearest exit and then without warning continue without turning left or right and re-enter the highway going in the same direction. Again, this will cause a surveillance vehicle to either mirror same pattern, which target can use to expose surveillance, or discontinue the pursuit. If a surveillance vehicle mirrors the target's maneuver the surveillance vehicle risk being exposed, if the target being followed is paying attention.
There are other vehicle maneuvers, which can be implemented to detect vehicle surveillance, which are quite effective if executed properly. Regardless of maneuvers or tactics used, the primary objective of the target is to expose surveillance efforts without alerting the surveillance. A vehicle surveillance team will make every effort to understand how a target may respond given various circumstances and scenarios. This operational phase allows a vehicle surveillance team to effectively monitor or follow a target unawares once the formal operation begins.