Need surveillance advice for ongoing car vandalism

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kavika411, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. kavika411 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    Thanks for reading. This is without a doubt the most random thread I have ever started, but I would appreciate any thoughts from any tech/gadget/surveillance people.

    I'll be as brief as I can. Over the past few weeks, my girlfriend's car has been vandalized by someone smearing dog crap on her car windows. She lives in an apartment complex. After the first event, she called the police and had a report written up. The cop mentioned getting a game camera. Before we got one, it happened a second time (when her car was parked a block away, signaling she was being specifically targeted).

    So, we bought a game camera. In case you don't know, a game camera can be strapped to a tree and takes photos in day and night (infra-red). She bought a more expensive model game camera. Our plan was to put it inside the car so that when it detected someone outside the window, it would trigger. Two problems: first, I couldn't make the sensor trigger through the glass of the car. In other words, movement outside of the car did not trigger the camera. Second problem is that even if it did trigger from inside the car, the game camera takes infra-red pictures via a "flash" of these little red lights, kind of like Christmas tree lights - point being, that if it did take the picture, the dude might see it flash and smash the window to get the camera.

    Anyway, we started parking her car in the same spot, and mounted the camera on a tree next to it. We've done that every night for two weeks. She's been very upset, to say the least. Well, just when we'd almost decided to stop doing it, boom - the dude struck last night. The game camera only got shots of the guy's backside - head, back, legs, and feet. It was enough for her to recognize that he is a homeless squatter (if that's the phrase). She has had some run-ins with him in the past, and he has frightened another woman in the area. She gave the sim card to the police investigator who has been looking at this. The investigator said what I was afraid he'd say. Essentially, "Yes, we are familiar with this squatter guy, but those pictures may not be good enough for court."

    So, we are going to try to position her car and the camera differently tonight. But the reason for my post is to ask any of you tech guys and girls whether you can suggest a different type of surveillance - short of a private investigator to stay outside all night, night after night - that would capture the guy's face.

    I know it's a longshot, but I also know some pretty tech knowledgable people hang around here.

    Thank you for your time.
  2. JetBlack7 macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2011
    Something happened to me since a few months ago and still going, he lifted my windshiled wipers, threw eggs at my car, once he covered it in crap and do you want to know why? Because he didn't like the way I parked my car in front of his apartment (I too live in a condo), when it had always been legally and correctly parked. day I approached my car and it had been vandalized in the hood with car keys, 2 big ones. A neighbor of mine saw it and told me, so now I know who he is and what car he drives. (Loved knowing he drives an Audi...)

    I thought about getting a camera, but no good. All I can say as a person who knows what she is going through, either get a camera and film the car overnight from a safe distance or stay awake overnight and watch the car.

    Sorry I can't help much more. Good luck ;)
  3. mcrain macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2002
    Do you have a "flip" or other cheap camera? Maybe a baby monitor? Any recording you do has to avoid audio because some states, like mine, are very, very, very strict about audio surveillance without a warrant.

    You could set up a "flip" in a tree, set the recording to mute, and you have admissable video. Maybe set it up in the windshield or interior of the car, but you there are going to be lighting issues.

    I had an anhydrous case with a hidden camera not more than 2 feet from my clients face. It wasn't a slam dunk. I say that to warn you that no matter what you do, there may not be an easy solution.

    Hiding in the back seat with an unloaded 12 guage may be more effective (I say unloaded because you don't need the experience of killing someone). You can always have a loaded pistol too, but not pointed at the window.

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