The increasing Chinese population in Los Angeles has had an impact on the nation’s second largest city; about 500,000 Chinese-speaking people live near LA, and this population explosion has created a demand for both business and service lines that cater to this growing demographic.
The demand is being felt by private investigators and detectives in Los Angeles, who are increasingly sought after for their services. Although the city has large PI firms, there are few that have staff members who speak Mandarin or Cantonese.
The increasing need is both on the personal and corporate level; some seek family members or loved ones who have returned to the motherland and disappeared while others seek information regarding Chinese-owned companies operating in the United States.
“We are desperately looking for Chinese speaking private investigators or detectives in Los Angeles whom we can refer them more businesses. However, we have yet to find any.” Says Anna Hou, a manager at Abacus Chinese Translation Services. “If you speak Chinese and you are a licensed private investigator in Los Angeles, please contact us.”
Thousands of miles away and in an unrelated story, Louisville’s WAVE reports that the private investigation field is a lucrative career choice; the hours aren’t great starting out, but salaries can range between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. New, or “green” investigators won’t see these salaries right off, but the field is built for entrepreneurs who can obtain a license while working for an investigation firm and then “graduate” to owning their own business. The median salary, according to the article, is $50,600 per year.
One investigator opened his own service after spending a few years learning the trade at another agency. He spends his days performing the duties of the trade–following leads and conducting surveillance from various locations. Surveillance requirements range from monitoring subjects personally–using a notepad and binoculars–to employing cameras and video monitors.
The trade requires patience because investigators are “at the mercy of the person [they’re] watching.” Also, each state has different requirements to become a licensed private investigator; much like the medical field, there are exams and hours of investigation that need to be logged prior to applying for a license.