“Smash and Grab” car break-ins hit an alarming all-time high of over 31,000 reported incidents last year in San Francisco. In 2019 (to date) broken window reports have fallen a bit, to an average of 50-60 per day – which is still a shocking statistic. Despite near constant police complaints less than 2% of such crimes will end up in an arrest.
Areas popular with tourists such as Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and the streets surrounding the iconic Lombard crooked street are hardest hit.
Police are acutely aware of the problem and have added additional officers (both in uniform and plain-clothed) to patrol hot-spot affected areas of the city. They have also developed an extensive fingerprint database to help prosecute criminals.
San Franciscans have been largely helpless to do anything about this situation…until now. Andy Hodge, founder and CEO of Owlcam may have just the thing to stop car thieves in their tracks.
“We said: could we take the same features you have in a home security system and bring them to a car?” Hodge explains. “Meaning when something happens you have this video, whether you’re in the car or you’re out.”
The Owlcam is a surveillance camera for your vehicle that is powered on 24/7 and is connected to your smart phone. But it does more than just record. The camera has sensors, so when someone touches the car the owner will be alerted through their phone right away. If someone breaks into your car, you even have the ability to talk through your camera using your Iphone to scare the thief off. You can also send a copy of the video to the police immediately as evidence.
Hodge said he too has had his car broken into before, so he knows exactly how invasive it feels to be personally targeted.
Owlcam has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but rather than being dependent on a phone for connectivity, it sports its own embedded LTE connection, allowing it to upload video directly to the cloud. The 2.4” color touchscreen has wide-angle cameras on both sides, allowing it to record interior and front-facing views simultaneously. It also has an eight-core processor and enough onboard storage to hold 24 hours of video. The device is designed to install quickly, and has a flashing light designed to remind would-be thieves that if they are messing with your car they will be caught on camera. The hardware lists for $299 and the LTE service is $10 a month.
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