Catching Bad Guys

A few weeks ago there were a series of automobile break-ins in my neighborhood. The break-ins all occurred in the mid-morning. It appeared that only loose change or the stray GPS was taken.   The damage done to the cars cost more than any of the items stolen.

These types of crimes happen all the time in San Francisco. It only takes a few minutes to shatter a window and take a few items. Rarely is anyone around to see what happened. It’s even rarer that any evidence of the crime is collected.

As luck would have it, I’ve been running surveillance cameras looking out of my front window. One day, a break-in happened right next door. I checked the camera and hoped that I’d caught footage of the guy this time. As it turns out, I did!

In the first frame you see him walking toward the break-in location. (I’ve smudged his face to protect the innocent here.) In the second frame you can see him carrying a black bag that was later identified as one of the items stolen. (Note: The total amount of time elapsed is 4 minutes.)

We forwarded these photos to the police and the neighbors.  The police commented that it’s not often a clear picture of someone is captured. It’s also gotten the neighborhood fired up about paying attention to who is coming and going.

A couple of the neighbors have purchased DCS-920 cameras and have signed up for Sensr.  We are going to be building our own “Digital Neighborhood Watch” up here.  We’re all on the look out for this guy and will call the cops if he is spotted.  (He was spotted lurking around once, but still remains un-caught.)


I recently came across another site helping to catch Bad Guys.  It is called  It’s a video-sharing site for survillance footage of crimes.  Using it, you can look at crimes in your area and see if you can help catch the Bad Guys.  Of course, sometimes it’s entertaining to watch especially stupid crooks just for the fun of it.

I think is a nice complement to SensrSensr helps you manage your cameras and capture video and perhaps keep it private. Crookstupe is a place for sharing the video clips you want to share with a “Crimestoppers” audience. These two sites might make a great match.

Sensr is not CSI

It’s been interesting to gauge the expectations of some of the people introduced to Sensr and IP-surveillance.  A lot of people have watched a lot of episodes of CSI and expect infinite resolution and image enhancement techniques that don’t really exist yet!  No matter, the basic technology is here today and useful.