Locate Investigations (Skip Traces) can be challenging even if a client provides a name, date of birth, social security number, last known address, etc. When a client requests that we locate an individual with only a name and license plate number, it is very difficult. Late last week we were asked to locate an individual who was a suspect in a hit and run with a common name & a license plate number, likely living in San Francisco. Unfortunately, California leads the nation in fatal hit and run crashes so we are often called to locate individuals for this reason. A comprehensive search indexed to his name and San Francisco returned too many results to be productive. It was then decided that we run what’s called a Vehicle Sightings Report which utilizes a database of over two billion vehicle sightings, including current sightings (last 30 days), recent sightings (31-90 days) and historical sightings (older than 90 days). The database acquires these sightings from street and traffic cameras, including cameras in underground and public parking lots.
A search of the plate returned 23 sightings, with 20 of the sightings being “current.” Many times, a Vehicle Sighting Report does not yield results, or the results are too old. The majority of sightings for this particular vehicle were in the cul-de-sac of a residential neighborhood.
Finally, we were able to narrow down our results to one person matching the subject’s name, by searching databases indexed to his name and street of possible residence. We confirmed his residence and provided our client with results in just one day.
Vehicle Sighting Reports are a powerful tool if results are found. We can use the information obtained by the report in a locate investigation of current residences, employers, and identify habits.