Recently I came across an independent British documentary on Netflix called “Erasing David” (trailer above). The film explores some disturbing realities regarding the volume of personal data stored by various English institutions. I’m quite certain something similar is happening in the US. The story takes off when David tries to disappear for a month while an investigative team attempts to track him down before the deadline.
You may find some of the investigative team’s methods questionable. I did, and it’s the very reason I didn’t want to apply my skill set to the investigative area. However, the team demonstrates a very helpful strategy when tracking your research participants. When you have information about a person, it is possible to predict their next move. In the film, the investigators track David to a rural part of Britain. They predict he will visit his father’s place, and possibly move onto his mother’s place. Their predictions lined up with David’s plan, although he tries to throw them a curveball. If he didn’t already know that they were tracking him, he would have done exactly what the team predicted. Please note that you don’t need to know every little detail about a person to successfully utilize this method. One can use it with a good locator form, or a decent public record (using both is even more powerful).
Remember – human beings are creatures of habit. Because of this, predictability is a reality. It won’t work every time, but the odds are in your favor.