How to Follow Someone on Empty Streets

Follow someone through the streets of a city without being caught.


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    Prepare the proper attire. Black is a bad idea. At all hours, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Red attracts attention. Wear greys and greens. If the weather permits it, wear a hooded sweater or jacket.
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    Prepare disguises, fake glasses, caps, changes of clothes. if possible go into a shop to change outfit.
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    Carry an empty bag (sports bag, rucksack, briefcase etc). If someone sees you you can drop the bag off somewhere. People who recognised you with the bag may, surprisingly, not recognise you without it.(Make sure the bag matches your outfit- a hoodie and a briefcase would look out of place)
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    Spot your target. See which direction they're headed in, and how fast they are moving, remember to keep this pace.
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    If there are many parked cars, outrace your target. You should be on the opposite side of the street from them. Get a little bit in front of the person you're tracking, then slow down to about their walking pace (Be careful not to make too obvious of a change. It will draw their attention).
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    If the street is fairly empty, walk behind your target by about ten meters. If the weather isn't cold enough to make a bent head plausible, keep looking down at your watch.
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    Glance at your target only as often as you need to to keep them in sight. Pretend that you're busy. Walk around reading a book, etc.
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    Be prepared for your target to stop. If this happens, keep on walking nonchalantly. If you are behind your target, move in front, until you have created that same ten meter gap. At the nearest corner or parked van, or any other form of cover for that matter, hide and look back. Be careful not to be seen while doing so. You should count to three after hiding before looking back.
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    If you are seen, don't withdraw quickly. Instead, move away at a normal pace, as though you heard a noise behind you. Then, continue walking, as though you did not recognize your quarry, until you find the next bit of suitable cover. (Note: It is recommended that if you are hiding in an indentation in a building that you hold out a book, binder, or cell phone, and return your attention to that as you withdraw back into your spot).
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    Find a desperate method of escape for if you are recognized and your target begins to approach. Look at your watch or pretend to check a text message on your cell phone, then shout a curse or exclamation and run past your target at a dead run. Do not look directly at them. Logically, if you were avoiding them, you'd run the other way, so the fact that you went past is a sure sign that you have to be somewhere. Right...? No. Find a secure hiding spot (preferably on the other side of the street), and wait it out there. Keep an eye on your target, but sit tight.
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    If your target enters a building, your method of proceeding really depends on the situation. If you plan on following the person as they emerge, get as far away from the entrance of the building as you can while still retaining the ability to recognize them if they leave.
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    Assuming that your target stops only briefly (for example, they make a call on a pay phone), be well ahead of your target while hiding. Make sure that you are across the street from them. Then, keeping your head down to keep from being recognized, allow them to walk past, giving them a distance of 15–20 meters (49.2–65.6 ft).
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    Resume following as before.
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    Get your friends involved. If you are spotted give a signal (hand signal, text etc) for them to take over. Swap outfits and follow him again later if your friend(s) gets spotted. Also if you walk alongside a friend, talking to them, you are less noticeable.


  • Make sure to camouflage any distinctive features. You can go all out and put some flesh colored Halloween make-up over scars, or just wear a cap to cover that bald spot.
  • Practice with friends. this will make it harder as they will be expecting you, so your skill level will have to improve.
  • If you act naturally you may be surprised as to how close you can get.
  • Make sure that you have a false objective in mind. You're waiting to meet someone on a street corner, etc. If you attract the attention of passersby, you'll probably attract the attention of the person you're tailing as well.
  • Try to blend into the area not duck behind canisters, cars etc.
  • The corners of buildings are among the best cover you can find in any city.
  • Reading a book to appear uninterested in your surroundings could backfire, as someone in the street may recognise the book, and ask about it. As a passer-by may ask questions, so you'd need to know the answers. Also walking with a book implies you're in no hurry, so people won't be worried about stopping you.
  • To get close to your target, match their footsteps in timing, but beat them in length of stride, quietly. This will close the distance while still allowing the sound of their footsteps to cover the noise of your approach.
  • Recognize when the jig is up. If you're caught twice, you're going to have to admit that you recognize the person and (possibly) even reference the first encounter, saying "Yeah, I forgot (x), so I didn't have time to talk." Give a place that you were going to, to explain your being out, or, if you think it plausible, just say you were going for a walk.
  • Do not wear:
    • Things you wear a lot. Ex. Favorite T-Shirts, Specific Brand names, Types of Clothing, etc. If you are always wandering around in jeans and long sleeved T-shirts, switch it up a little: put on shorts and a warm-up jacket, baggy cargo jeans and a button-up, etc.
    • Anything distinctive. If you're the one guy on earth with a "Kentucky Fried Chicken" t-shirt, don't wear it!


  • You and you alone are responsible for your actions. This is a guide for use in practical jokes and similar endeavours. Using these instructions in some way to commit a crime does not void you of responsibility for your actions, nor does it annul the damage you have done to the lives of other people.
  • Following people at nighttime can put you in dangerous situations in some cities. If you're going to follow someone during the night, make sure you aren't running around the corner into a mugger or other dangerous person.
  • Never follow a random member of the public. It can make them scared or unpredictable. They may be carrying a weapon!
  • Only ever follow a person to play a practical joke on them or engage in a similar harmless activity.

Things You'll Need

  • Grey and dark green or otherwise inconspicuous clothing.
  • Innocent and unsuspecting civilians, friends and/or family.
  • Self control.
  • Iron nerves.
  • The ability to lie convincingly.
  • an object,cell phone is always a good idea.
  • The ability to look natural.
  • A friend/friends

Article Info

Categories: Self Defense | Spying