Detective agencies investigate and attempt to solve mysteries involving criminal activities. Agencies need to be licensed and can either be independently owned or exist as part of a police department. Examples of mysteries include murders, missing persons, identity theft, scams, security breaches, and suicides. Some detective agencies specialize in surveillance regarding spousal affairs. Private detectives and private investigators are detectives that are independent contractor detectives that use deductive skills acquired from law enforcement. They use tracking skills to trace where criminals have been or are going. Other detective agencies or investigative units focus on crimes against children. If a homicide or other crime has occurred, the city's police department will automatically launch an investigation to find out what happened. The detective unit will perform background checks, conduct research about the victim and suspects, run records and surveillance, collect data, and get results. Some detective agencies are private firms. If you suspect wrongdoing, you can hire a private detective on your own. You can find detective agencies near you by looking in a phone book or by searching online directory listings. Target your search to detective agencies or private investigators who offer the services you need, whether it's a missing persons case, infidelity suspicion or claim, homicide, suicide, anti-scam, or other criminal mystery. It's best to know your facts before hiring a detective agency or private investigator.