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SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

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« The Contour Roam 2 - Using the right tool for the job | Main | The Rollie Eggmaster Vertical Grill »
Sunday
Jun232013

Q) Which car camera is best for catching a vandal in the act? A) None of them.

I wanted to explain in a video why its a really bad idea to consider using a car camera to catch a vandal. You may think that no-one would contemplate doing this, but every week I receive a handful of emails asking me to recommend a car camera for this very purpose. This video also demonstrates why motion activation isn't all its cracked up to be.

Extra information to think about;

If you want a camera to record for a prolonged period whilst your car is locked up you will have to hard-wire it in to your vehicle. Then to catch the offender, the incident would have to happen in the daytime - or in a very well lit area at night, the offender doesn't wear a hood or faces away from the camera, they decides to damage your bonnet rather than the side of the car, you have a tall vehicle, e.g. a 4x4 so you capture more than just an image of their headless torso, and you'll also have to notice the damage to your vehicle and check the footage on your memory card before it is overwritten...this will usually happens every few hours. In addition if you park on a busy street, every passing car or pedestrian will trigger the camera to start recording. It's more than likely that something happening at 10pm will not longer be on your memory card when it gets light enough for you to spot the scratch the next day.

You may not agree with my assessment, and if so that's great, please do whatever makes you happy - but IN MY OPINION, trying to catch someone 'keying' your car with a dashcam is ALMOST impossible.

 

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Reader Comments (68)

Thanks for the advice. I just can't help feeling sorry for the average chap who asks a polite question but gets blanked by me because I'm too busy. I'll just have to be a bit more ruthless I suppose.

July 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@ Techmoan average chap....average chap.....how dare you .....you manchurian ignoramus.........hehe just kidding as usual Matt..... I havent posted any comments lately...(..I said it Afore and I will say it agin )your fans and I am on top of the list ( now thats bound to start a dispute) will far outweigh your critics we all appreciate the time effort and expertise that you put into your reviews......and the hand movements.... well you would be a natural here in france Hope there is an improvement in your health Regards as always THE FRENCH CONNECTION

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIpol

HAHA This video actually was jokes especially towards the end when you go into the car through the boot.

August 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMuj

"I see", said the blind man! Had to laugh at your method of enlightening us to the ineffectiveness of using a car camera to catch vandals, other than perhaps a most lazy and stupid vandal who would stop right in front of the cam to do his dastardly deeds, without noticing the cam. Thanks again

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpreston

I'm glad you understood what I was attempting to get across here in my rather ham-fisted way.

December 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

A few points:
I think most people would want to use the dash-cam OUTSIDE the car to catch vandals, E.g. pointed out of their HOUSE window AT their car.
Resolution of most sub £100 CCTV cameras is poor. To catch a vandal he / she needs to be positively identified. 720p is about the minimum requirement.
Dash cams tend to have better night vision without. IR lighting and IR is useless pointing out of a window at night because the reflection blinds the cam. Use of an external motion detecting light together with a motion detecting dash cam would seem to be an excellent solution.
Used indoors a mains USB charger can power the cam indefinitely.
Used out of doors rechargeable USB battery packs (with adequate protection against the weather) is a possibility.

August 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

Great article! This blog is also quite good for spy camera buyers' advice :) https://spycamerasuk.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/spy-camera-buying-advice/

August 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

what is the software you use to put this 3 clip together need to put the back and front clips together.
thanks u

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteralex

terrible review, there are car cams with good night vision that can record thru glass. Second who is gonna break the glass and steal the camera, as soon as that happens the alarm will sound and the last thing the their will want to do will be to enter the car.

October 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertommy

Aaah that's just the thing. I'm window shopping the internets for a concealed kind of camera to put on a lamppost or a car for the very reason of vandals coming by the local street and stripping out copper wire or smashing in windshields if anything looks valuable inside the car.

February 9, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdavinid

Thanks for this video. I've been wondering about this myself. I was trying to catch some vandals but eventually I manage to catch them red handed (some school kids smashing windshield of my neighbor's car and punctured my tyres. The police helped me in intimidating these kids (age 9 - 14, 6 of them prowling the neighborhood after midnight, smoking and vandalising) and they never came back (I didnt press charges and withdrew my report). Some parents did scolded me for calling the cops, they prefer I beat the kids (then maybe THEY file a report against me?)

BUT for those still trying to catch vandals and CCTV is not an option, i suggest buying a spycam. These cheap cameras are made to look like pen or keychains and immobilizer and all sorts of stuffs. It can run between 2 to 4 hours on battery and using the suitable memory cards you get to record about 2 hours.

The catch is, not all of them are high resolution camera so need to be careful when choosing them. And it has limited recording period. So you set it as late as you can and hope the vandals come earlier than later

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNoon Sod

Thanks for your help. A tyre deflator hides in my pub. Suspect it's the lard arse barmaid and cretin family. 15 flats since new year and a slashed tyre. Just had the metalwork out of my leg. How about 2 or 3 small cameras which could be hung off the outside of a building. Very discreetly. WiFi through parked car. Only focus in one area. Anyway I'm skint ish but savvy enough. Ideas? 😐

May 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSedge

I know this video is older but it is what came up so I watched it. I live in the USA and had my new car horribly vandalized. I know who did it but no one saw it happen even though it was morning (6:45a -7:00a) and was thinking about purchasing the Wheel Witness HD Pro. They have a website and it is on Amazon. It is supposed to be the best out of all the dash cams with 170 degree viewing angle, has sound, and the night vision is really good. I live in a apartment complex and not that close to my car. I can open my door and look out and see it, but hearing anything is really hard. I know that you don't think inside cameras are a good thing but this kid is a repeat offender with doing damage to peoples cars. I plan to boost the alarm system on my car and have the remote that will vibrate inside. But he has done this before and needs to be stopped. Apartments are willing to help with putting up outside cameras. I would like to know what you think about this camera in general. And I know the hardwire kit would have to be bought but do you know if there is a way to hook it up or where someone would that it could remain on all the time (or just as long as I need it to be on) without draining my battery? Any help would be great. And I think you should always stay in front of the videos. I dont like disembodied voices. Seems less personal. Dont worry about what others think. And the only thing I think I would have to disagree with you on is when you were in front of your car. I think it would capture more if someone drove up and several people got out and was walking around my car. You have a small car with a short front end. I have a brand new Chevy Camaro. You have more room from the front to the windshield...not the paint...but if the camera was in there...I would have a clearer shot of the person because of the distance. Thanks again for any info.

July 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDallasStorm

Hi,

Since the video has been viewed does something new is on sale to catch the keying experts??? Why companies are not producing such anti-vandalism cameras????

Thanks and best regards.

February 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGUY

Given the price of components from China adding a built-in all round camera system at the car manufacture stage would probably add £100 or so to the MANUFACTURING cost. Being built-in they would be hard to steal and PIRs could be used (not through glass) for night detection. An additional small removable car battery could be built-in to power the system.
Doing this for lorries should reduce cyclist deaths yet manufacturers haven't done this and my MEPs tell me it is not necessary to have a law making it compulsory for manufacturers to install them.
I think that given the small extra cost it is disgusting that they have not done this.
An additional advantage, though a bit Big Brother, is that given a killing or robbery the police could request footage from people who had cars in the area and possibly see the criminal before putting on a mask etc.

February 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

I was planning on purchasing a dash cam for this purpose mainly (catching vandals and hit and run type incidents) as it has happened to me 3 times last year. Thanks to this useful video i'll now be looking at cctv option.

To take this off topic slightly, does anyone know the legality for me to set up cctv cameras from my house to point down either end of my street? The problem I have is that I live in a terraced house (UK), where I have no drive way or garage and the street is narrow. My street is also busy, and it means that half the time I don't get a chance to park directly outside my house. So, my car could be parked anywhere on my street, sometimes as far as 20 or 25 meters away from my house. Could I have cctv setup so that it points down the road either end from my house?

March 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterManT

A search of the web suggests it is OK for personal use even overlooking public areas. Given that in-car video cameras can not only capture your street but also any other street you visit, and fairly detailed images of pedestrians can be recorded, it would be illogical to have a greater restriction on home CCTV.

March 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

Hi,
My name is Zoryana.
I live on the 3rd floor and my car in parking garage.
For the last week my car Infinity was scretch 30 times
I went to police they told me to put some camera
I bought Arlo wireless camera but unfortunately the signal is to far doesn't work
Please recommend me some camera that I can place in the car and catch who is doing that vandalism
My email is
Zvsaturn@aol.com
3237026173
Thank you.r

May 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterZorysna Volos

Hi! Your video on car surveillance has literally opened my... night vision! Thank you soooo much, I was looking to buy a car cam, now I am definitely looking for a fixed camera to point at my car. Distance from my window to the parking lot is 20 m...
Could you please instruct me as to what security system would you install today? Classic analog CCTV with DVR and a exterior cam? Would you opt for a IP cam? Cloud? Memory? Computer recording?
There are sooo may options, I am puzzled and I think that you as a connoisseur could point the right direction. What exactly to buy in May 2016 to catch the image of that someone who has fun and scratches my car every weekend :))...
Three words would suffice: "Buy X camera"
Thanks a lot and Happy Easter (Eastern style)
Best regards
Adrian from Romania

May 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

If there was a legal problem with CCTV cameras capturing footage of public roads and highways then millions of in-car cameras would be illegal as they capture not just the public highway outside a house but potentially ALL public highways. As no one has arrested Google over Google Street View I guess we are pretty safe!

May 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterandyJenk

Since the review has been published I hope manufcaturers have done something......Any suggestion against keying dudes????

Your reply would be appreciated.

Best regards.

May 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

thank you for your video, my truck has been broken into three times and I was looking to put in a security camera inside the truck but your video makes sense with that type of camera, but I have to wonder if a 4 camera system with mini cameras would be better with the hard-drive hidden. regardless I opted for a better alarm system and a cctv setup outside my house.
even here in BC Canada we have thieves, who knew LOL.

Jacques

June 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJacques

@Jacques
Just a word of caution: I had a CCTV camera set up on the wall of my house which recorded to SD card. You guessed it. It was stolen SD card as well!

June 3, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteranqdyjenk

Thank you for this video. It was extremely helpful & convinced me to rethink spending money on a dash cam. I'm now thinking to get an internal camera because I'm more concerned with vandals breaking in and damaging the inside of my van. It would need features like this:
1) internal light will go on inside my van when they break the lock/open the door so i don't need infrared night vision
3) I'll need a cellular connection so that it stores the video/snapshots on the cloud rather than on the device (in case they find it)
4) I will need motion detection (or maybe triggered when the car door light comes on?)
5) separate battery power - I'd heard that people use a second car battery somehow when powering their car stereo systems for use when the car is parked.

Any suggestions on this type of setup?

Thanks. Once again, this was a great video.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTroy T

No, I haven't heard of anything like that - I haven't even seen a dash cam with a mobile network connection.

June 23, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Techmoan,

What would you suggest?? CCTV cameras?? Wi-Fi connection to avoid wiring the camera????. I could install at least 4 cameras (1 outside+3 Inside my house). Would appreciate your comments..
Thanks,
Bestregards.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

Your recommendation is out-of-date in 2016.

Philips just launched an anti-vandalism dash-cam ADR900.
* 7days*24hours
* Night view as low as 0.2lux
* Hassle free OBD mounting
* Low power consumption (>1 month)
* Warning red-flashing to prevent vandalism.


WaveGuard 24/7 parking monitor

"To protect your vehicle continuously 24/7, ADR900 will automatically switch to WaveGuard surveillance when you park your car. WaveGuard, Philips unique microwave detection technology, sense the scene in front of the car, and start recording whenever it detects moving object, such as human and vehicle, to be approaching too close to your vehicle. It will then shutdown automatically to save vehicle battery power."


http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Philips-ADR900-2-7-Car-Dash-Camera-Cam-Full-HD-Video-Resolution-1920x1080p-/182064527839?hash=item2a63e439df:g:fzgAAOSwGYVW8rjS&vxp=mtr

August 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy

I'm in a real jam. I have a neighbor vandalizing my car. (heard him say he did it). I rent so I can't put a camera on the building. My apartment is in the back, his apartment in the front where cars park. How do I catch this immature person in the act? Also very poor lighting. There is only one light which is located across from where I park. Would need 24/7 surveillance, and 360 degrees around the car. (he vandalizes it all around the car).

February 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterneed help

'I have a neighbor vandalizing my car. (heard him say he did it).' need help

I am sure Matt, has explored this as well.

Unfortunately, unless you are prepared to pay a professional private investigation service for evidence I can't see a solution that is legitimate.

This vandal is someone who thinks they have no value to society, therefore, your property has as much value as he has. That is unless his values evolve past that of a 7 to an 8-year-old child; and what are the probabilities of that development?

There are many cases of underdevelopment of values causing social problems, you have unfortunately discovered it next door. These people often get to maturity, even old age without ever growing past this mindset. Which is confusing at times, as they are packaged as responsible adults.

Would it be cheaper to sell the car, and start catching PT or use an uber ride-sharing service, or even start cycling?

Something to think about, I wish you well.

February 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCocoa Jackson [au]

Hi need help,
I don't think you'll find a good solution. Your problems will be power, lighting and recording time. With what is available I suggest trying the following:
1. One or more "spy cameras" which are available for around £5 on eBay. You need one(s) which will record while on charge. Without a separate power supply you are looking at around 2 hours before power runs out.
2. One or more "Power Banks". Work out what rating you need from the camera specs to last as long as you want. Presumably you do not NEED enough for 24 hours because you can change during daylight hours.
3. Obviously USB cables.
4 . Motion sensor battery lights. Around £7 on eBay. the batteries may last long enough but do check.
IR does not work through glass so is not required.
Most spy cameras record to a 32Gb SD card. If you record with motion detection that should be enough. You do not need hi-res. That eats storage.
Mount the cameras at suitable places in the car. If he vandalises all around the car you don't need to cover all of your car.
One possibility is to place one on a wheel of the car with the powerbank hidden by the wheel. It should not be obvious but you risk forgetting - and running it over - or having it nicked.
The above MAY NOT WORK but is a fairly cheap option. You can buy one of each, walk around your car at night and check if it has worked.
Good Luck
Andy

February 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndyJenk

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