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  • Argh.... car thieves

    Howdy all,

    I'm seeking an elegant, hopefully techie, solution to car thieves.

    I work at a downtown Los Angeles datacenter and recently there have been several car burglaries in the adjoining parking structure. Just today, three cars were hit and the average is a car being burglarized every other day. The structure is your typical multilevel one where you have to pull a ticket to raise a gate and pay an attendant as you go out.

    Being next to a datacenter, I'm guessing most of the victims left electronic gadgets lying around the front or back seats.

    The building promises more security patrols and the installation of cameras, but we're not counting on that to protect our cars.

    Tactically, our employees in the datacenter can reach the parking lot in approximately two minutes. Tonight, we've moved all employee cars to a single location in the lot and I'm posted outside as burglary suppression (heh, broadband wireless rules). Obviously this solution is short term.

    So.... is there any decent way to protect our cars from these bastards?

    We have lots of spare Axis IP cameras lying around, but they all require AC power.

  • #2
    Re: Argh.... car thieves

    Can a camera be wired to the car battery via a voltage converter, and run live feed to an IP?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Argh.... car thieves

      Originally posted by not5150 View Post
      We have lots of spare Axis IP cameras lying around, but they all require AC power.
      And...? Would the thief (thieves?) not be deterred by a camera sitting in plain site in the car? For extra points, you could throw in the classic red blinking LED. Unfortunately, if the thieves realize that a picture is almost useless in determining their identity, then they'll simply make off with the camera, too.

      Do you think the thieves are driving into the parking structure? If so, you could rig a system whereby an alarm goes off when certain equipment is leaving the structure and the parking attendant can make a judgement call.

      Then there's the Jeep approach: leave your windows rolled down when you leave the car and secure/take your belongings as appropriate. I know this is kind of a pain in most cars (no lock on the glovebox), and nobody likes taking their registration and insurance with them, but your car will be relatively safe.

      Could you get the parking structure to alot spaces to your employees? Install the camera to cover your space (tie it into the lighting for power), set up motion-activated software, and have the picture cut in to one of your projectors on motion.

      Put a notecard in your car's window: "This car contains $25 worth of items and has a $100 deductible. Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx and I'll give you $50 to not break the window."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Argh.... car thieves

        This seems to be a common occurrence recently. Locally one of the data centers is having the same problem, and have barricaded the entrances and exits to the parking area so that there is only one way in and out, security keeps an eye on each car coming in and where the person goes when they exit the vehicle. Granted its a parking lot, and its a little easier to watch than a multilevel structure.

        But its got to be that techie people usually have electronic gadgets in their cars, and thieves have figured out that these tech companies are a prime place to break into cars if your looking to get electronics.

        I've been tempted to put an IP camera into my vehicle for recording when I'm on the road as well as when Im parked. I drive around all day doing service calls. I figured I could put some of video online, stupid drivers doing stupid stuff.
        Plus when its at my house I get a nice view of everything going on outside via Wifi. Frys had Wifi IP cameras clearanced to $69 lately. $99 with audio and night vision.

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        • #5
          Re: Argh.... car thieves

          Have you considered wiring one of these to the relay output of one of your IP Cameras and base it upon face recognition, if it doesn't see you or one of your friends, it fires, literally.
          A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Argh.... car thieves

            Get a CRT flyback transformer, high voltage relay, insulate the door handles, connect output of flyback transformer to car door handles, add high voltage relay to current alarm system. Instant Car self defense system. If the alarm goes off the door handles charge to about 75kv. Will stop car thieves errr dead in their tracks.

            xor

            Car thieves suck, having had a cool car stolen. The wild west had it right when dealing with horse thieves.
            Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Argh.... car thieves

              Cell phone with gps and log as a buddy with location service enabled.
              Get an audible alert when it moves.

              There are paid services that parents use on kids as electronic leashes. Sign up for one of these and make your car your kid. Set a boundary of where you park, and if it leaves that boundary, you get SMS, and maybe can contact the person working the exit to the garage before the car leaves.

              As an added plus, you could even follow the car (virtually) to the place they sometimes store them while waiting for lojack response, or maybe a chop-shop. If police know about what you are doing, you may be able to get a phone number to call when you "car is on the move" so they can catch the person in the act. (You'd probably have to go to court to testify.)

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              • #8
                Re: Argh.... car thieves

                A litterbox with poop in the backseat would deter me.

                Especially one with a dead cat in it.
                ----------------------------------------
                Fraternal Order of Locksport

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Argh.... car thieves

                  Based on this:

                  Originally posted by not5150
                  car being burglarized
                  and:

                  Originally posted by not5150
                  I'm guessing most of the victims left electronic gadgets lying around the front or back seats
                  I was working on the assumption that the cars themselves were not being stolen. If they are taking the entire vehicle, that certainly opens up the possibilities.

                  [Syntax] has the most useful suggestion, but if the parking lots are anything like here (lots of first-floor access including low concrete walls, little-to-no safe pedestrian pathways through the attendant entrance) it could be quite a retrofit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Argh.... car thieves

                    MVT's/BMV's are on the rise all over due to the following factors: People leave briefcases, cameras, mp3 players, radar detectors, purses, garage door opener, car registration, and house keys in their car.

                    Now mind you some BMV's occur for one main purpose and that's to grab your car registration and if you happen to have a garage door opener the thieves will grab that too. The main reason for this is because once a thief has your car registration they now know where you live (can break in to your house now), they know your full name and address (can now use this information for fraud).

                    For items such as electronic equipment, tools, and whatnot a thief wants these things to: A. PAWN, B. Sell on the streets, C. Keep, and D. Give to friends to sell or PAWN.

                    Best advice when parking your vehicle anywhere, even your own driveway, do not leave anything in it that thieves would like to steal and this means taking your registration out
                    too.

                    Vehicle break ins will occur no matter what, thieves don't care about cameras in parking garages nor do they care if your vehicle has an alarm so always take anything of value and items that have your name, address, etc. with you. This is the best thing you can for yourself. Remember a window can be replaced for cheap but everything else that a thief can grab adds to the costs of what you lost and may or may not replace.
                    "It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times". Pearl S. Buck

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                    • #11
                      Re: Argh.... car thieves

                      We had problems like this in San Diego, even with a small parking garage and roving golfcart patrols. A lot of people were having things jacked from cars, mainly because of the multiple bentleys, maybach, and various other expensive rides.

                      Cars would get broken into for a while, then people would move on to the mall nearby or a different office and every 7-9 months it would start over. Basically meaning by the time people realize a problem the thieves have moved on to the next target while giving people long enough to forget the lessons learned.

                      The camera is a good idea, unless the thieves take that too. You could park a decoy car up there as well, rigged with the same setup having the camera or cameras aimed in several directions to cover the floor. Every once in a while just move the car. The same thing could be done with a stationary device. The question is do you want your surveillance or alarm mechanisms visible to deter theft, or hidden to try to catch someone?
                      ----------------------------------------
                      Fraternal Order of Locksport

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Argh.... car thieves

                        Originally posted by valanx View Post
                        The question is do you want your surveillance or alarm mechanisms visible to deter theft, or hidden to try to catch someone?
                        Surveillance cameras do nothing to deter crime, criminals generally ignore them, so there's no point in suggesting that placing them there will keep someone from stealing.

                        Look at London, they have more cameras than just about any city in the world and a high level of crime. Look at my own town that just made national news (oddly enough, it didn't make the local news, but that's a completely different rant), we've had a steady spate of violent crimes happening, these cameras are in plain view everywhere.

                        My own opinion on surveillance, go covert, record all activity, and do what you can to catch the perps.

                        Oh one more example I just thought of: We have surveillance cameras at our plant, in plain view with signs notifying everyone that comes of the cameras. We had a trucker unzip and piss right in front of the camera the other week. Our plant manager had words with him, basically to the effect that if it happens again, we'll revoke his permit.
                        A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Argh.... car thieves

                          Correct the cars are not being stolen, just broken into. Thieves are going after gadgets and radios.

                          To get out of a the garage, you have to drive through a manned booth and give the parking ticket (and of course pay money).

                          We believe people are walking into the structure from the first floor and then they basically case all the cars for stuff.

                          The idea behind the live feed camera system is that employees and security can respond very quickly to the parking structure. Given the errr outstanding health of the security guards, it's a safe bet that employees will make it to the lot before the guards.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Argh.... car thieves

                            There is no way you are going to be able to stop someone from breaking in to your car if they want too.

                            To keep my car from being broken in to I use street logic. Inside the car I keep a folder with gang writing on it that can be seen from outside. I know to most outside of the street world this doesn't seem logical since what if a rival gang member is breaking in to your car. But trust me there is a gang with only three letters that will stop about 90% of thieves from breaking in to your car. This also probably only works within Southern California and LA in particular. Also this isn't a guarantee of any kind, the goal is just to make them think the cost might be to high and a weaker victim might be a better choice.

                            Do I suggest that other people do this, not really. Unless you grew up around these people doing something like that may not be good for your health.

                            The only suggestion I have for the average citizen is to not keep anything of value in your auto and let karma deal with the thief.
                            Last edited by ch0l0man; June 24, 2009, 15:54.
                            "so many books, so little time"

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                            • #15
                              Re: Argh.... car thieves

                              My big concern here isn't really the theft of gadgets and radios (as crappy as it is), but that some idiot employee from a backbone provider leaves a laptop with all the router/bgp codes. Granted, most burglars wouldn't know what to do with such information, but ....

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