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Need Recommendations On Home Brew Surveillance System

Why would I ask for such a thing? Because somebody got into my car last night. I honestly can't remember if all my doors were locked (a couple of my doors are those kind where you have to hold the lever open while you shut it for it to stay locked -- a stupid design in my opinion). But my car was certainly opened, and everything inside the main part of the car was moved around. Thankfully, nothing was taken. Other than my drumsticks and my music in there that belonged to COCC, there was nothing of significant value in the car. But whoever did this rummaged through my glove box, tore out the few things that were under my seat (mostly radiator fluid and a windshield screen), opened my drum stick bag (which I never leave in my car, but was just tired after band rehearsal last night), took my few cruddy CDs out of a little storage cubby, and even threw my ice scraper across the seat.

So basically from what I could tell, they were trying to find some quick cash or quick something they could pawn off for a few bucks (my stereo isn't worth removing -- it's a piece of crap). They didn't find anything, and they moved on (they popped my gas cap, for some reason).

What's weirder is that they didn't touch my wife's car, which is a far nicer car -- they decided to pick my crappy little car to rummage through.

But the reason this has me spooked is that back in 1999 when I was in college and living in Eugene, I made the mistake of leaving my laptop under my seat in my car (it was a long night of studying that I had gotten back home at 1:00am). My car was locked, but I woke up to a broken window, and my laptop, my bag, and my laptop was gone (you can read all about it in a ranting pissy online column I wrote which I've mirrored here as the original link isn't rendering things properly).

I don't want that to happen again where a momentary lapse in my judgement screws me over good or does something to me or my family. It's one thing to screw me, but when there's a chance that something might happen to my family, then I get a little angry.

So I'm looking to fight it and catch bastards like this in the act -- I'm looking to setup a home-brew surveillance system. I know good little Web cams are getting fairly inexpensive now and I might have enough spare parts that I could build a computer to tether them to for archiving of images.

Has anybody done anything like this or have any suggestions? Linux-based systems are totally fine (and will probably be cheaper), and support for at least three cameras that I can access via the Web is a requirement (as I can route a URL to my house, if need be). Built-in motion sensing (it doesn't need to record all the time) is basically a must. And if anybody has any spare parts that they'd like to contribute to the project, I'd be immensely grateful. I'm open to any thoughts and/or suggestions for anybody who has done this type of thing before.

Needless to say, I have filed a police report, and my cars are locked up.

Posted by Jake on 04/14/06 @ 09:56 PM
Posted in Geekdom, Jake | Permalink



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