Locking your car in a parking lot for security.

Recently there has been a huge uptick in the use of home security systems such as Nest, Ring, or any number of other devices. What’s surprising is not the adoption of this technology but instead the lack of use of car security devices.

After all, when was the last time you walked out from the grocery store only to find a scrape down the side of your car or indent on the bumper with no trace of what happened?

Don’t lose hope that you’ll never know what happened to your car, though; car security camera devices are starting to pop up and are expected to become quite popular in the coming years. By picking up one of these devices at the very least, you’ll be aware of what happened, and at best you can catch the person who broke into your car. More than that you have the peace of mind knowing your vehicle is safe. 

Types of car security systems

Dash camera

At the most basic form of car security cameras is a simple dash cam. In this form, it’s not really car security but rather video evidence if something happens while you’re driving. If you are involved in a crash, the footage can serve as evidence that you weren’t at fault.

These simple dash cameras are cheap, but their functionality is fairly limited. Many require the removal of the device as well to retrieve any footage. Once you pull the footage you also need to filter through all of the continuous footage in order to get the short clip you’re looking for.

Car alarm systems 

There are also traditional car security systems. If your car is parked and a security incident occurs an alarm is sounded with the idea to scare away the thief. These systems also tend to have stolen vehicle tracking to help track down your car in the event it is taken. 

They do provide more security than car dash cameras; however, their visibility is nil. The alarm is great for scaring away a security threat but not for providing any evidence as to what happened. 


Car security cameras

There is a new wave of surveillance cameras for cars that are rolling out that provide both security and visibility. Pairing sensors with cameras can alert you to the security event and have the visibility to know what happened. Some systems even allow live streaming video ability to determine if the threat is on-going. 

Similar to dashcams, these systems also provide visibility on the road sending out alerts and saving footage of incidents. The big trend with these cameras seems to be moving towards cloud storage. This allows users to remotely access video footage which is especially helpful in the event of a break-in, vehicle theft, or theft of the device itself.


Things to look for in a car security camera 

Price and monthly service plan

If you’re searching for a connected security camera that pushes updates to your phone, you can expect to pay for a monthly service plan. The best way to think about this is as if they are cell phones. If they’re in close range Bluetooth can be used without data to transfer photos. However, if the two cell phones are out of range for Bluetooth, the only option is to use data to send the pictures.

Luckily these service plans are a lot cheaper than cell phone plans averaging about $10 a month. The camera systems themselves also have a cost which is, of course, more expensive than a dashcam but less expensive than a hard-wired car security system. These camera systems tend to range between $250-$350 USD depending on the function of the unit. Some go beyond security and offer other features that you may find useful in your car.     

Power to the device

The connection to the car is fairly standard when it comes to these devices. If you’re looking for a device that’s always connected, then the only real option is to pull power from the car through the OBDII port. This power source tends to cause concern, but there’s no need to worry. 

These devices draw a small amount of power from the car’s battery but not enough to drain it. Just make sure that you’re purchasing a system that monitors battery voltage and has good reviews.

Feature set 

Not all car security camera systems are created equally. While some act exclusively as a car security camera, others offer more. If you’re interested in things like vehicle diagnostics or wifi hotspot, some options offer the whole deal rather than running an onboard diagnostics splitter and having multiple devices in your car. 

What do car security cameras catch?

Security events in the last year have heavily impacted me, but living in a metropolitan area this is pretty common. I’ve wrapped up my experiences to show how security cameras can help you. 

Cracked or Broken Car Windows

Just over a year ago I had to park on the street due to construction on my home. Not two days later did I approach my car to find the rear most window on the drivers side had been broken. This was really strange, they broke a small one inch hole into the glass. This was frustrating mostly because I had no clue what had happened or why and never will.

Car Break-ins

The next event occurred this past February but this time I had installed a car security camera. 

Around 6:30am I received a notification to my phone that there had been a car security event. I opened the app and found that my car had been broken into. Immediately I filed a police report that included the image below and only a few hours later they had caught the man. He had been on a nine day spree breaking into underground garages when he got caught. 

Car break-in suspects are rarely caught but images and video significantly improve the chances of a successful investigation. Since this event occurred the Raven Connected team has improved the quality of image pushed to the cloud and the night vision quality fully illuminating the inside of the car. This provides an even better chance to get a good quality image of the suspect. 

Parking-lot hit-and-runs

business vehicle parking lot hit and run caught on camera

The third incident is a great example on why businesses should also be using security cameras in their vehicles. This time, a work vehicle backed into my parked car immediately sending a security alert to my phone. Thankfully, this security event didn’t cause much damage to my vehicle.

As a business managing vehicles making sure that you’re not wrongfully blamed or that your employees are honest is not an easy job. Work vehicles often take the blame for accidents regardless of their involvement. Having a connected security system allows you to monitor poor driver behaviour, incidents such as this, or hopefully can be used to exonerate drivers. If you’re searching for a car security camera take a look at Raven Connected.


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