Investigative Services from a Private Investigation Agency | Pinkerton Pinkerton is your trusted source for investigative services. With over 160 years of experience, see why we are the leading private investigation agency.
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Our Difference
Our History

Pinkerton is a trusted partner, leading the risk management and security industry for over 165 years.


Throughout history, we’ve served as guardians and protectors of organizations around the world, defining new industry standards for risk and security management, and consistently revolutionizing our industry.

From our roots serving as an intelligence agency during the Civil War, Pinkerton has continued to build an impressive track record—establishing the first criminal database, being the first company to hire a female detective, and being a forerunner for the secret service. Discover how Pinkerton has played a historic role in the risk management industry for over a century by following our company and our accomplishments through the years in the timeline below.

  1. 1842

    Allan Pinkerton immigrates to the U.S., settles near Chicago and goes to work making barrels.

    Allan Pinkerton
  2. 1847

    Allan Pinkerton joins the Chicago Police Department.

  3. 1849

    Allan Pinkerton is appointed as Chicago’s first police detective.

    Photograph of a man reading at a desk
  4. 1850s

    The first Pinkerton office opens at 80 Washington Street, Chicago, IL.
    Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency is formed and with it the birth of a noble profession.

    Old poster titled 'Thieves & Burglars!'
  5. 1853

    Pinkerton Detective Agency works with law enforcement to arrest criminals anywhere in the country.

    Old photograph of a Allan Pinkerton on horseback
  6. 1855

    Pinkerton specializes in protecting railroad shipments for several mid-western railways.

    Photograph of men on houses near train tracks
  7. 1856

    Kate Warne is hired by Pinkerton, becoming the first female detective in the U.S.

  8. 1861-1865

    During the Civil War, Pinkerton serves as head of the Union Intelligence Service, the forerunner of the U.S. Secret Service.
    Allan Pinkerton recruits the first African-American Union Intelligence Agent, John Scobell.

    1861

    In the hour of peril, Pinkerton uncovers and foils an assassination plot on the life of Abraham Lincoln, directing him safely through the ranks of treason to his first inauguration.

    Photograph of Abraham Lincoln standing with Allan...
  9. 1866

    The first recorded train robbery takes place and the Pinkerton Agency is called to locate and arrest the culprits.

    Wanted poster for train robber Oliver Curtis Perry
  10. 1870

    Allan Pinkerton and his agents become legendary during their relentless pursuit of Jesse James – the Younger Gang, the Dalton Brothers, and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch.

    The Pinkerton Agency begins the practice of clipping and filing newspaper stories for reference in investigations. Pinkerton’s collection of mug shots and methodology develops the first criminal database.

    Newspaper story with headshot
  11. 1871

    Pinkerton guards are hired to prevent looting after the Great Fire in Chicago.

  12. 1884

    With the death of Allan Pinkerton, the agency is taken over by his two sons, Robert and William.

    Alan Pikerton's Headstone
  13. 1890s

    Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency has 2,000 active agents and 30,000 reserves causing the state of Ohio to outlaw the agency, due to the possibility of it being hired out as a “private army” or militia.

    1890

    Pinkerton attack disbands Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch.

  14. 1906

    Pinkerton has 20 offices throughout the U.S.

    Old black and white photograph of men in top hats
  15. 1907

    Allan Pinkerton II, the grandson of the founder, inherits the Agency.

    Allan Pinkerton II
  16. 1930

    Robert Pinkerton II, the great-grandson of Allan Pinkerton leads the Agency.

  17. 1960

    Corporate headquarters move to downtown New York City, making a total of 45 offices.

  18. 1968

    Pinkerton’s armed agents are called upon to escort the priceless painting, Mona Lisa, painted by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, safely across the Atlantic Ocean.

    The place: An ocean liner. The case: Mona Lisa...
  19. 1969

    Pinkerton offices are established in Hong Kong, opening the door to operations throughout Asia.

  20. 1970

    The trademark ‘PINKERTON’S’ is registered on March 3, 1970.

  21. 1998

    Pinkerton successfully evacuates 431 expatriates from Indonesia during the Asian Currency Crisis.

  22. 1999

    Securitas AB, the largest security services provider in the world, acquires Pinkerton.

  23. 2005

    Pinkerton mobilizes 313 agents to assist clients in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Sandy (in 2012).

  24. 2012

    Pinkerton introduces the Pinkerton Risk Wheel, representative of the company's new holistic approach to corporate risk management.

  25. 2013

    The leading innovator of corporate risk management solutions for national and international corporations, Pinkerton operates in over 100 countries and maintains a vast, exclusive global network of reliable resources.

  26. 2014

    Pinkerton relocates its global headquarters from Parsippany, N.J. to a new 11,000-square-foot global headquarters back to the Midwest in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Pinkerton Global Headquarters
  27. 2015

    Pinkerton introduces its Risk Index, a comprehensive report detailing the global risk landscape, created through years of collaborative work by scholars and security professionals, and backed by data from 17 distinct sources.

  28. 2018

    Pinkerton introduces a new concept called Applied Risk Science, a proprietary and analytical approach using big data and machine learning technology to identify, manage, and mitigate business risk for clients.

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ALLAN PINKERTON 1850
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Pinkerton Headquarters

101 N. Main Street, Suite 300
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

1.800.724.1616

pinkerton.info@pinkerton.com