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Old 04-14-2009   #1 (permalink)
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How do I catch a car vandal?

Now I'm quite aware that there are children in Palestine getting their limbs blown off, and that in comparison to somebody getting foreclosed on, I've got it pretty easy getting my car keyed for the second time after a year, but the other side of me just can't get past the idea of how low you have to be to do this kind of ***** *** ****. Now I know that an eye for an eye makes the world blind, but I still envision myself taking a bat to this guys hand so that he cannot key again. Maybe you guys have some clever and simple ideas? The best I can come up with is to buy a wireless(?) camera and turn it on every night.

See what this ****er does is he sees that I like my car --he sees that I wax and do work on it, and he gets off by seeing its destruction. Humans are such a psychologically messed up lot. These days, it's a bad idea buying an expensive or new car.

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Old 04-14-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

wow usually stock cars dont get keyed lol but people are messed up so idk. its prolly just a bored kid. best thing you could do is setup a couple cameras pointing at the car from the sides. goto that spy shop on s. virginia st and see what they got.
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Old 04-14-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

I feel ya man...

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I feel fine putting this picture up (just took from cell phone) kuz this camera is coming down in the next 10 days.

This is a 480 lines of resolution camera, pretty damn clear at daytime.. its obviously color, but at night it switches to B&W and IR's illuminate so it can see in the dark. I'm upgrading to a high resolution Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera with 27x optical zoom. The current camera is good for checking out whats going on in the area, but impossible to recognize faces or read license plates (you need to drop over a grand to read license plates on moving cars at night).

What to look for in a security camera:
Optical zoom (digital zoom ruins image, and can be done after recording)
Low LUX rating. All cameras with IR (infrared lights) are considered 0 LUX because they can see in no light. IR's ruin the image as far as I'm concerned. Look for a camera with a 0.1 or 0.01 or 0.003 LUX rating... the lower you go, the better it can see at night.
Resolution is also huge. 480 is dvd quality. 600 lines of resolution is even better of course but it seems to be for just for B&W cameras now.

Speaking of B&W... Color cameras give you good reproduction of colors for the most part compared to B&W... aka... was that a gray hatch or a red one that just drove by??? But when the sun goes down, that camera will look like ****, and wont do you much good even under a street light... B&W on the other hand does a much better job at night. With IR LEDs you can literally see in the dark since IR is a color the human eye cant see, but I believe your still limited to B&W if you decide to go that route (never seen a color camera that used IR when in color mode)

The closer you can safely position the camera to the car the better the image quality you can get. If you have to mount the camera on the roof of your house or out your apartment window and your car is parked in the street, like my place, then you need a camera with a good optical zoom. Forget digital zoom, infact turn it off on the camera your using if it lets you so you dont accidently use it.

The best setup involves 2 cameras. Camera #1 shows the whole area to let you know whats going on in the area, and camera #2 is zoomed in on your car so you can get a detailed look at the ppl doing the damage. For camera #1 I prefer a PTZ camera that allows me to stay zoomed in on the car, and then move it around remotely to track any suspicious ppl. But beware, for a PTZ camera you will have to PAY for it. You will also need a controller, or DVR (Digital Video Recorder) There are two types of DVR's... the first is hardware based which is basically like another dvd or vcr player looking thing with a hard drive in it. Its a pain to get the footage off of it and you have to look at the frame rates it records in, which is divided by how many cameras it supports (good DVR's will record 30fps per camera). From this kinda of dvr you can control a PTZ camera. The other kind of DVR is computer based- another PCI card you drop in your case. This allows you to connect cameras and record to your hard drive.. install a huge dedicated drive in your case just for video. Both types of DVR's may support motion detection and all of that good stuff to save disc space. But research before you buy. I'm going to go with a computer based system. I havent found a good DVR PCI card yet though. Your other option is to just run it to a TV and sit on your *** all day and night and watch it.. or run it to a VCR and let it record. (Gor this option with a PTZ camera you will need a PTZ controller- you can get a basic joystick one for 100 bucks on ebay) When you want to watch it, just play it in fastforward till you get to something interesting you want to watch like someone jogging past your house and looking at your car, or someone talking on their cell next to it.. ect. For VCR's recording speeds go like this:
SP= short record time, higher resolution
LP= medium record time, med resolution
EP/SLP= long record time, low resolution

Stay away from wireless because even if the camera is high enough quality, the digitalization of the picture and sending it across the air will degrade the quality so significantly that its not even worth it. Yeah its a great idea, but technology just isnt far enough along yet. Stick with wires. I've hidden cameras in the tree next to my car and burried the wires under the bark dust and hidden it in the cracks of the sidewalk, its easier then you think. Plus you have to worry about the battery on your wireless camera dying when you need it most. The signal isnt encrypted either, so other ppl can see the broadcasted signal and know what areas to avoid in order to no get caught.

They also sell IR floods, so you can attach it to on part of the house and have the thief looking over there for a camera to disable, but have our camera on the other side of the house, or hidden under a gutter or a vent. Warning... IR's glow a visible red which is visible to the naked eye and exposes the location of the camera at night if the IR's are on the camera itself, but its not visible on the area that is getting lit up... kind of a hard concept to grasp unless you see it for yourself in real life.

Theres lots of tips and tricks I could give you. That should get ya started tho... Happy to answer any questions

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Old 04-14-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

Okay, thanks for the info. That's all high tech and ideal and stuff, but why not just place a wireless camera inside the car looking out, recording to my laptop? I would have descent facial clearity if angled correctly. I don't want to spend more than this guy is worth, nor do I have the money for it.

I wonder if it's that punk *** high schooler with long hair that always walks past the same side. But it happend on sunday night....
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Old 04-14-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

Laptops need power, and the battery is good for what.. 2 hours? Whats the likelyhood they will strike during that short time interval. Also what if they hit the other side.. and their head will most likely be too high up from any camera position to catch a decent facial (stand next to your car.. your shoulders are above the roof line). Plus if your car is getting key'd its likely to get broken in to, especially if they spot they are on video. So in the end you get your car keyed, have your window broken and your laptop and camera stolen along with anything else worthwile int he car.


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Old 04-14-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

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Laptops need power, and the battery is good for what.. 2 hours? Whats the likelyhood they will strike during that short time interval. Also what if they hit the other side.. and their head will most likely be too high up from any camera position to catch a decent facial (stand next to your car.. your shoulders are above the roof line). Plus if your car is getting key'd its likely to get broken in to, especially if they spot they are on video. So in the end you get your car keyed, have your window broken and your laptop and camera stolen along with anything else worthwile int he car.


Click the image to open in full size. What other ideas you got?
No way, I wouldn't have the lap top in there. I was talking about a wireless camera. I would have the laptop up by my window for proper reception. These camera's go for about 200, but I could probably get it cheaper. I would hide it under a jacket or something.

He's already broken into my car once. I left the door open on accident I guess. He tried to pop the trunk but I had the lock on as I anticipated this might happen. I know he tried the trunk lever because the gas door was open. He didn't steal anything inside, including an expensive ski jacket. It seems his motive was to get into the trunk, which indicates to me that he has seen me put rifles in there during the day. But I always take them out after shooting. Any way, he probably got pissed off that I locked the trunk so a while later he gets in a truck with his friends and throws a 20 pound rock through my back window.
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Old 04-14-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

Another idea is a lure. Leave my car door open perhaps. Put a high value item in there, like a laptop or you know... whatever. Place a tracking device in there and a note hidden inside, or my name engraved on it somewhere. Notify the authorities of my trap and act on it. If the police can even do that(?).
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Old 04-14-2009   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

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Originally Posted by Cleft_Asunder View Post
Another idea is a lure. Leave my car door open perhaps. Put a high value item in there, like a laptop or you know... whatever. Place a tracking device in there and a note hidden inside, or my name engraved on it somewhere. Notify the authorities of my trap and act on it. If the police can even do that(?).
sounds like a good idea but I'd assume the police wouldn't really care to catch a small time crook like that. Maybe if you planted drugs and stuff in there and they get stolen they'd care to look into it. You'd probably have to go with some primo hardware to catch the kid.

You could always try to get a car cover and since its covered they'd have a little bit harder of a time to get to the key'ing portion. Tie some stuff to the car cover and maybe have it set off a security system of some sort. Dunno if this helps ya any lol
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Old 04-14-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

i doubt this is about stealing anything, so leaving the car open or whatever isnt really gonna stop someone keying your car. i assume you park in the driveway in front of the garage. i say get a light fixture for outdoors, put the brightest light you can find and leave it on all night (fluorescent 100w+ bulbs barely use 20w of power). troublemakers are afraid of light so they will not risk doing anything when theres a bright spotlight shining at them and possibility of someone catching them. assuming it happens at night, which usually it does.

another idea which ive seen done but might not always work is buy some big graffiti decals and put them on the sides of the car. usually once a car's been "hit" nobody else will touch it.
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Old 04-14-2009   #10 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

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sounds like a good idea but I'd assume the police wouldn't really care to catch a small time crook like that. Maybe if you planted drugs and stuff in there and they get stolen they'd care to look into it. You'd probably have to go with some primo hardware to catch the kid.

You could always try to get a car cover and since its covered they'd have a little bit harder of a time to get to the key'ing portion. Tie some stuff to the car cover and maybe have it set off a security system of some sort. Dunno if this helps ya any lol
With most GPS trackers you need to recover the item to figure out where its been. There are very few ways to track a item in real time using GPS, and none of them are inexpensive.

As I've said, wireless cameras have horrible imaging.

Post up a picture of where you park your car at night in relation to where your bedroom is, or accessible room that you could set some spy stuff. Is it a house, apartment.. ect.. I'll see if I can figure something cheap out for you.
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Old 04-15-2009   #11 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

um where do you live? what part of town
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Old 04-15-2009   #12 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

why not just do it like we do in the south, keep setting up at night with your pistol, and when the ****er shows back up fire a few rounds into the air(on 1 in his *** if that would make you feel better)
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Old 04-15-2009   #13 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

Whoa, that sucks man...Deep scratches...[img]http://******************/images/e98741479a7b998f88b8f8c9f0b6b6f1.gif[/img]
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Old 04-27-2009   #14 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

Sorry, didn't get a chance to post back. I appreciate all the help, but I think this is a karma thing. When I got my first key mark over a year ago, I remember doing something I shouldn't right before. So this is a repeat episode. I should have learned my lesson.

And any way, it doesn't matter. It's partly a relief. I enjoy driving my car more now for some reason. I don't worry about it getting keyed again. I know that when a person starts fearing the worst, the worst is far more likely to happen. So I don't even worry about it --I don't sweat the small stuff.
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Old 04-27-2009   #15 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

thats a good attitude.
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Old 04-27-2009   #16 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

Judging by the pictures, it would be difficult for someone to do all that while driving by, this means they are on foot or bicycle, skateboard, etc.

My best advice would be to get yourself a security system. You can use a proximity sensor with it so if anyone gets close enough with a key (or any other object) your car will chirp a warn away (4 loud chirps, not the annoying alarm sequence). A properly configured security system can be very effective and if the car is within hearing range of your house, or you have a two-way remote system, you would probably have time to run to a window or out a door.

My alarm has only gone off once in 3 years and when I stepped out on my patio to look, two guys were fighting next to it, one was pinned against my back window.

Lol the adrenaline caused by your alarm remote waking you up in the night makes you move very quickly

Plus, security system stickers and a red flashing LED do a really good job at deterring trouble makers.
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Old 04-27-2009   #17 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

i had a proximity sensor and it was having all sorts of problems dealing with animals running around or on the car. so i had to take it off. i set it very low so it only chirps within an inch of the car body, but i would constantly get false alarms from birds, cats, squirrel, etc.
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Old 06-20-2010   #18 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

My advice would be to wait in your car. If it happens on a sunday night camp out in your car with the seat reclined and when they come by to key your car jump out and make them crap themselves. Then after a semi good beatdown, tell them they are going to jail.
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Old 06-20-2010   #19 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

You catch a vandel by: 1. Hiding in a near by bush 2. Having some **** loaded water ballons 3. 911 on speed dial and a digital camera to catch the dumbasses facial expression after being caught.

Ps. Sorry bout your car being vandalized
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Old 06-29-2010   #20 (permalink)
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Re: How do I catch a car vandal?

F***ERS like this INFURIATE ME! but, I do believe in Karma, so they'll get theirs.
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