We all know a dash cam is a useful item to have in your car for recording events that occur on the road but they can also be stolen. Like any other valuable item in a vehicle, it is just another item for thieves to steal. As such, there are some things you should keep in mind when installing a dash cam in your car and how to make it a less attractive criminals.
Will my dash cam get stolen?
Like a cell phone, GPS, or other items of value, a dash cam can attract thieves. Granted the common criminal probably does not know much about them or how much they are worth but if they are already breaking into your car there is a good chance it will get taken as well.
Even if they don’t steal it, they may view it like a security camera and remove the memory card or destroy it as an attempt to prevent any evidence being retrieved from the dashcam. Either way, you would still be at a loss and have to replace your dash cam and it is a situation most people would prefer to avoid. Therefore, what are some steps that you can take to prevent your dash cam from being stolen?
Ways to not get your dash cam stolen
- Design of the Dash Cam. The design of the dash cam might make it more or less of a target. A common criminal is probably not an expert on dash cams and will probably not know the difference between a cheap $100 model and a $400 model. However, a larger wedge dash cam with a screen might give the impression it is more expensive. If you park your vehicle in an area where theft is a problem, this could make your vehicle more of a target and it might be worth considering a lower profile model that will attract less attention.
In this case, a cylindrical or rear view mirror dash cam may be ideal. There are smaller, less noticeable and they may not even notice it is there.
- Mounting Position. The mounting position can make your dashcam less visible. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do for the front camera as it usually has to be mounted in the center of the windshield near the rear view mirror. However some of the wedge dash cams can be installed higher up behind the tint strip and that can help make it less noticeable from the outside.
The rear dash cam is easier to conceal as it is smaller and almost always installed higher up. Also, if you have tinted windows that can hide it from view. Of course if thieves want to break into your car, in most cases they will. There is no way to make it completely invisible but making it less visible and not having other valuable items in plain view can make your car less of a target.
- Cable Management. One thing you can do is have it hard wired and the cables tucked away. Most thefts are a crimes of opportunity, as in a thief sees something, smashes the glass, takes the item and runs. If they see a cord dangling, they can see that there may be an expensive device, your camera. This might give them the incentive to break into your car to steal the camera and any other possessions you have. Don’t make yourself a target! Hide those wires in your headliner and down your A-pillars.
No matter what steps you could take, there is not much you can do to prevent a determined thief. Therefore, the best step you can take is to deter them and make your vehicle a less attractive target.
- Car Alarm. Aside from common sense tips like not leaving valuables in plain view a decent car alarm is worth the investment. Even though most vehicles come with an alarm from the factory, criminals may have access to the master codes and be able to deactivate it. Of course, the same can happen with aftermarket alarms but is unlikely they will have the keys for every model out there.
If they are not able to deactivate immediately, in most cases you will still have an audible alert for a few seconds and that may be enough to send them running. Also, some alarms can send a push notification to your phone and that can be enough to give you a warning that someone is trying to break into your vehicle.
- Remove and Sleep Soundly. Lastly, if you live in a high crime area it may not be worth the risk to leave your dash cam in your vehicle overnight. Yes, it is inconvenient as you will have to remove and reinstall it but it could be enough to make your vehicle unattractive to thieves.
This might not be practical on some dashcams as they are mounted on the windshield with an adhesive and do not have a removable mount. There are some cylinder dash cams can be easily removed from the housing and that is something worth considering. Therefore, if you plan on removing your dash cam regularly, it is recommended to see how it is mounted.
Can you use a dash cam as a security camera?
Absolutely and it is one of the reasons many people install dashcams in their vehicles. Almost every model on the market today has a parking mode that will record video when the vehicle is turned off. The features will vary by model but there are some things you should know in terms of using it as a security camera.
- If your dashcam does not have WiFi or LTE connectivity it won’t do much good if thieves steal or damage it since the video is recorded to the SD card. Also, if you want to use it for parking surveillance you will need to have it connected to a power source that is hot even when the vehicle is turned off.
- If you want to use your dash cam as a security camera it is recommended to have a cloud enabled model with WiFi or LTE capability. That way if thieves steal or damage your dashcam, you will have a video backup of the incident. In some cases you can receive a push notification and possible prevent the theft from happening in the first place.
Do dash cameras record all the time?
You can set it to record all the time but you will drain the battery faster and fill up your memory card with hours of video footage. If you want to use it as a security camera, a buffered parking mode is ideal.
How the parking mode works will vary from model to model but generally speaking, the dashcam will constantly record video although it will not save the footage unless an event is detect. Other models, it will not record until movement, glass breakage, or an impact is detected. At that time the dash cam will wake up and begin normal recording.
If parking surveillance is important, a dash cam with cloud connectivity is the best option. Even if it gets stolen or damaged, you will have backup footage of the event.