OS X Home Security
November 13, 2006 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Recently my bike and some other trivial stuff has been stolen off my porch. My bike was locked. :( I want to bait this thief with another bike (my broken one) and see who this jerk is. I have a mac and want to use a wireless webcam. Infrared is key since I believe he strikes at night. Is there an app for OS X and a compatible webcam for this situation? Ideally, it would not capture footage unless their is activity. -thanks
posted by bloodniece to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: EvoCam has motion-detection. It will take photos or record a movie only when it sees movement, if so configured.

Supported network cameras
posted by Mwongozi at 9:47 AM on November 13, 2006

Best answer: do you think a webcam will ID the perp well enough to be able to pick him out? What about a bear trap instead?
posted by craven_morhead at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2006

OK, this is more along the lines of "challenging the premise" than "answering," but here goes:

Think about your situation for a minute. Your bike has been stolen. Bikes are stolen because they are relatively fungible property that don't tend to be individually identifiable and have a low enough value that the police will not bother to pursue the theft very far. Basically what I'm saying is, it does not take a genius to steal a bike. Likewise, it does not take a criminal syndicate, and it generally does not merit scoping out potential targets and skulking around, waiting for them to go out so you can strike.

It's petty theft! What on earth convinces you there is some kind of ingenious bike burglar waiting to pounce on you again? What if it was just some poor-ish kid who decided he needed a bike?

I understand that you feel victimized, I've had property stolen and it pissed me off too. But the odds that you can do anything to this particular thief are vanishingly small. What you're considering is basically setting up some vigilante justice, hiding out in your attic waiting to catch this guy in the act so you can call the cops and pounce on him. And if you DON'T intend to sit around and watch your camera, if you're just collecting evidence to take to the cops later, just what exactly do you expect the thief to do -- hold up his ID to your (hidden) camera? Or are the police supposed to put "WANTED" posters up all over town to catch a guy who stole $150 worth of bike?

Think of it this way. If you hadn't been robbed, would this seem like a reasonable thing to do, this laying out of bait and setting up an internet monitoring system to nab the next petty thief who happens by? If not, realize that it's not reasonable now either; you should learn to move on with your life and put your next freakin' bike in the basement or garage or something when you're not using it.
posted by rkent at 10:18 AM on November 13, 2006

Response by poster: Piss off rkent. Your comments are unhelpful and smug. I have already decided to do this and your "insights" are puddle deep.
posted by bloodniece at 10:36 AM on November 13, 2006

Response by poster: Now, Jamaro's answer is what I'm looking for here. You know the bike was not worth much money, but it has emotional value. It was a mid-60's J.C. Whitney. I have kept it locked on my porch for 7+ years without incident. I'm certainly not going to let a comment by rkent derail my goal. What's to stop the thievery from becoming burglary?
posted by bloodniece at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2006

Mod note: a few comments removed -- please try to offer civil responses and civil responses to those responses, or take it to metatalk
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:23 AM on November 13, 2006

I second EvoCam. It's a bit cheaper than ImageCaster and has more features (a built-in web server for instance). Here's a comparison.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:51 AM on November 13, 2006

How to make an infra-red webcam
posted by adamrice at 12:03 PM on November 13, 2006

I don't know where you live, but here in Chicago bike theft is a cottage industry for some people.

That said you're very unlikely to catch your thief... unless you suspect someone you already know (a neighbor, a roommate, a family member, etc.) and want to confront that person with evidence. (In which case take the camera recommendations from the people above...)

My girlfriend's bike was stolen out of our building's bicycle room and, oh man was I enraged... I wanted to setup trip wires and claymores and pits full of spikes which would impale him on his return trip to pilfer more bikes... I felt completely violated. But my rage soon passed. I took a deep breath, realized that if the bike had been locked properly then it wouldn't have been stolen in the first place.

Let it go... and see if your home owners or renters insurance will cover a nice new bike.
posted by wfrgms at 1:31 PM on November 13, 2006

EvoCam also has a nightvision filter.
posted by terrapin at 5:05 PM on November 13, 2006

Personal experience: One of the follow-up scams for this is to have two guys come back and offer to sell you the bike back, usually with some sort of 'Well, I loaned a guy $50 for this bike, and I'm trying to sell it." shuck and jive. Put the cops on speed dial, and work on some patter to stall them while they show up.

The other bit of ugly personal experience advice: Spend more on locks than you do on the bike if you want it to be there when you get back. :(
posted by Orb2069 at 7:42 PM on November 13, 2006

Mod note: SERIOUSLY - metatalk or email for name-calling
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 PM on November 14, 2006

Best answer: I'm not sure what jessamyn's deal is or why he is projecting such hostility. Perhaps you can post without using swear words.
posted by bloodniece at 9:07 AM on November 15, 2006

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