This article is a comprehensive guide to car security cameras for monitoring parked cars overnight and capturing car vandalism in 24-hour recordings.
Many cars on the road these days are often equipped with a camera, and for a good reason. Besides creating memories when driving, the cameras also play an essential security role for both car and driver.
To avoid being a victim of vehicle theft and vandalism, car surveillance cameras and car security systems are the ideal security solutions to help keep an eye on your parked cars, especially overnight parking.
- What camera can you use for car security?
- Benefits of using a professional security camera for your parked car
- What to consider when picking a security cam for your car
- When you can't use a professional security camera
- Security tips for parking your car overnight
- Security Tips for Car Theft and Vandalism
- 3 Types of cameras for car security & camera recommendations
- Tips for selecting a dash camera as a car security camera
- Introduction of the Tesla's 'Sentry' mode
What camera can you use for car security?
1. A professional security camera or security camera system
The following is a real-life example of a 4K video that was captured by a Reolink security camera.
“After missing documents in my car, decided to Playback the Security Cameras and found out that theft occurred that day.” says xhevi_mass.
A professional security camera is ultimately the best option for monitoring your parked car. They also typically come with security monitoring features like motion detection and night vision, so you can ensure your car is protected even when you're not around.
The security camera systems come with multiple cameras that cover all angles, so anyone trying to break into your vehicle will be caught on video.
2. Dual dash cameras
Dual dash cameras are an excellent option for car security if you're looking for something a little more affordable than a professional system.
These cameras record from the front and the back of your car, giving you a complete view of everything happening around your vehicle. They're also small and discreet, so they easily go unnoticed.
The only drawback is most dual dash cams stop working as soon as the car engine switches off.
3. interior dash cam
An interior dash cam records footage of your car's interior. These cameras give you a clear view of everything happening in the cabin, so you can keep an eye on your passengers and ensure everyone is safe.
They're also helpful in recording any accidents or incidents while driving, which can be beneficial if you ever need to file an insurance claim.
Benefits of using a professional security camera for your parked car
Good footage quality: Many security cameras record footage in clear high definition or 4K quality. This lets you see what is going on around your car much better. The footage can also be used as evidence in crimes or for insurance claims. Some security cameras can capture a car's licence plate number clearly and sharply even at night.
Round-the-clock surveillance: Security cameras can provide surveillance for very long periods, although it depends on the availability of power supply.
Placement flexibility: Unlike dash cams, security cameras have more flexibility regarding where they can be installed. They can be set up at different heights and angles depending on what areas you want to cover. Some cameras can even automatically track and follow the movement of objects.
Notifications and Alarm: Security cameras can push alerts and warnings as notification to you phone, if they detect suspicious movement or sound of your car, so you can be aware of what is happening around your car in your absence.
Audio: Some security cameras usually come with two-way audio, so you can listen in and talk to whoever is on the other side.
License Plate Security Cameras (or LPR cameras) are security cameras that capture a car's licence plate number clearly and sharply even at night. If your focus is on being able to see the number plates of other cars that pass by your parked car so that you can investigate afterwards, then LPR cameras may be the right choice for you.
What to consider when picking a security cam for your car
Asides from the camera quality, there are other important factors to consider when choosing a car security camera. These factors are listed below:
All cameras need some power to work, so power supply for security camera is pretty important.
You can easily run wires to power the cameras if you park your car at home. However, if you park in a public garage or locations where running electrical lines is complex, you can resort to a battery-powered camera instead. You can also use interior car cameras like dash cams that are powered by the car engine.
Your car security camera would need internet connectivity to upload footage to the cloud or alert you of suspicious events.
Although you can always connect most cameras to WiFi, some places have poor internet signals. In such cases, you can always opt for a WiFi signal booster or a camera like Reolink Go, a 4G cellular security camera, that works without WiFi.
Choosing the right spot for a car camera is important when it comes to car security. The best place to place a car security camera is close to an outlet or router, this will ensure that the camera can stay connected to the Internet and capture clear video.
Night vision is a must in every type of security camera. Since you would likely be parking your car overnight, it makes sense to use cameras capable of working in the dark to watch your vehicle while you sleep.
This is also an essential ability of all kinds of security cameras especially for car security. Cameras with this function can alert you when they detect motion around your car.
When you can't use a professional security camera
Professional security cameras are great and all, but there are situations where you can't use them for your car sometimes. For example, the law doesn't allow installing a security camera in public places.
In other cases, you could be parked on the side of the road or in a parking lot for a few minutes, where it's not feasible to set up a camera.
In such cases, a dash camera might be your best friend.
1. Dash cameras
Also known as dashboard cameras, these are small cameras placed in cars that record a view of what is happening on the road in front of the driver. Some dash cameras are rear-facing, recording the driver and what is happening in the vehicle. Other types, known as dual dash cameras, provide a 360-degree view of events around the car.
Dash cams are designed to be easily mounted on your dash or windshield, and they start recording with the push of a button.
Most dash cams are purposed for exterior surveillance. Their wide-angle lenses – up to 180 degrees - allow an expansive field of view. In addition, some have night vision capabilities, allowing them to work when it's dark.
2. Dash cameras for car interiors
These are the driver-facing dash cameras. They capture footage inside the car and are especially useful for Uber and Lyft drivers, who may encounter unruly passengers. They are also valuable as evidence whenever a crime takes place.
Similarly, car rental companies, logistics companies, and cold chain providers use interior dash cams can provide insights into how their cars are being used.
Sometimes, interior dash cams can be repurposed to monitor outside the vehicle. This works, however, it is limited, and you are better off using a dual dash camera.
Security tips for parking your car overnight
Parking your car outside overnight comes with its risks. While these problems are certainly something to be worried about, there are a few things you can do to help keep your car safe.
Park in a safe, well-lit area. Where you park exposes your car to different levels of risk. For example, parking on the street could make your vehicle a victim of vandalism or a hit-and-run. On the other hand, parking in a garage could likely expose your car to theft. When picking a parking spot, choosing a well-lit area or an area patrolled by security is best.
Remove any valuables from your car before leaving it overnight. This will reduce the temptation for thieves and minimise losses if your car is broken into.
Invest in a good security system. This is often the most reliable method. It could be cameras, alarms, and security sensors. Each of these, individually or collectively, will actively deter thieves and generally keep your car safe.
Security Tips for Car Theft and Vandalism
It's every car owner's worst nightmare - you come out to your car to find that it's been stolen or damaged by someone else. Unfortunately, car theft is a very real problem, and it can happen to anyone.
1. Car Theft Prevention Tips
Don't leave your vehicle running, especially if you have an automatic start button on your key fob. It only takes a minute or two for someone to steal your car or valuables.
Go to our top 12 car theft prevention tips and tactics to prevent your car from being stolen or broken into.
2. How to Find the Stolen Car Back
There are a few things you can do to increase the chances of recovering your stolen vehicle.
For example, be sure to file a stolen car report with the police as soon as possible. This will give them a record of the theft and help them keep an eye out for your car.
If you have a GPS device installed in your car, you may be able to use it to locate your stolen vehicle.
Go to our full guide for what to do when your car is stolen.
3. About Car Vandalism
Whether it's someone stealing, vandalizing, keying or otherwise damaging your parked car, it can be tough to catch the culprit in the act.
If your car hasn't been targeted by car thieves, burglars or vandals, make sure your car is insured, locked, and parked safely in well-lit areas and parked legally. Besides, don't leave any valuable belongs or electronic gadget in plain sight and keep your car tidy and clean.
Go to our full guide for how to catch someone messing with your car.
3 Types of cameras for car security & camera recommendations
There are different types of security cameras that you can choose from, depending on where you want to install them.
1. PoE cameras, best for a parked car near your house
If you want to keep an eye on your car while it's parked near your house, then a Power over Ethernet (PoE) camera would be a good choice.
PoE cameras are easy to install and don't require a separate power source, as they get their power through the Ethernet cable – which provides an internet connection. They also tend to be more affordable than other security cameras and often perform better.
4K Smart PoE Camera with 5 Spotlights
4K 8MP Ultra HD Day & Night, Person/Vehicle Alerts, 5X Optical Zoom, Two-Way Audio, Built-in Siren, Color Night Vision, Live View Anywhere.
2. Battery-powered car security cameras, when no power nearby
These are ideal for car security when there is no power source nearby, such as in a remote parking lot. Their batteries typically last for several months, and the cameras can be set to record only when motion is detected, which further extends battery life.
2K 100% Wire-Free Spotlight Camera
2K 4MP Super HD, Battery/Solar Powered, Person/Vehicle Detection, 5/2.4 GHz Dual-Band WiFi, Color Night Vision, Two-Way Audio.
3. 4G wireless cameras for you car in remote areas
These are suitable in remote areas without power and WiFi connectivity. Security cameras that use SIM cards are also known as 4G LTE cameras. They run on cellular networks and solar/battery power instead of WiFi and electrical lines.
These cameras use cellular data to send footage back to your phone or computer and can work anywhere the 4G cellular network is available. They are also often cheap and easy to install.
100% Wire-Free 3G/4G LTE Mobile Camera
No WiFi & Power Needed; Rechargeable Battery or Solar Powered; 1080p Full HD; Starlight Night Vision; 2-Way Audio; Live View Anytime Anywhere.
Tips for selecting a dash camera as a car security camera
It would be best if you kept a few things in mind when choosing a dash cam:
First, ensure that the dash cam you choose has a parking mode. Since many dash cams are powered by the car's battery, they stop working as soon as the engine is switched off. Parking mode allows the dash cam to keep working even when your vehicle is turned off to provide constant surveillance.
If you opt for a battery-powered dash cam, ensure you pick one that can last long enough for your needs.
Use dash cams that can be linked to your devices. This allows them to send alerts to your phones or computers when an event occurs. Using 4G cellular-powered cameras is also recommended so they can still function without WiFi signals.
Finally, low light performance is another crucial factor to consider. Ideally, your dash cams should be able to record footage in the dark.
Introduction of the Tesla's 'Sentry' mode
This is a great example of a car security camera that keeps recording after the car's engine is switched off.
Tesla's 'Sentry' mode turns your car into a recording surveillance camera capable of deterring would-be thieves and catching vandals in the act.
The car's built-in cameras start recording when they detect threats, such as when someone is leaning on the car or trying to break the windows. The footage is stored on a previously-inserted USB drive for later review.
You can also set up an alert system to notify you if anything happens while you're away from your car. 'Sentry' mode is a great way to give yourself some extra peace of mind, and it's just one more example of Tesla's commitment to innovation and security.
There are numerous stories of how car security cams have foiled criminal plans and also as evidence in a criminal investigation. Asides from its security benefits, the cameras also help drivers make better decisions since they know they are constantly under surveillance.
Whether for personal or official use, the benefits of car security cameras make them an essential driving accessory in today's world.