JUST as we fix security bars on the doors and windows of our homes for protection against thieves, it seems we also need to do the same for our cars. In this case, it is becoming necessary to instal security film on car windows to make them more secure.
As Steve Chin of Solar Tintshop explains, it may not stop your car from being attacked by smash-and-snatch thieves but it will definitely make it more difficult for them.
“Now, it takes thieves mere seconds to break your car window and run off with your things. By the time you realise what is happening and react, it will be all over. If your car window is protected with a security film, it will take time for them to smash it, by which time you can drive off or get help,” he says, adding that the film also provides UV solar protection, which is its basic function.
Unfortunately, he says, not many people are aware of the added benefits of installing the window film. Those who are aware are usually deterred by the cost, which is about RM1,088 to get the four side windows protected with a 5mm safety film. But there are many shops that offer special prices, he says.
Installing CCTV cameras in cars, meanwhile, is not unusual but according to a sales person in a CCTV camera shop in Jalan Pasar, Kuala Lumpur, it is usually an afterthought.
“Some drivers wanted to find out who scratched or vandalised their cars and installed surveillance cameras to monitor their surroundings,” he says.
His shop offers two types of CCTV cameras; one that runs on batteries and can last up to five hours, and another which runs on the car battery and records onto SD cards.
At another shop along the same road, we are told about the camera systems that are fitted into cars to help drivers when reverse parking.
Security consultant Benjamin Seow, who uploaded the cautionary smash-and-snatch video on YouTube recently, installed two in-car surveillance camera systems in his car.
One is an off-the shelf, built-in camera the size of a mobile phone and comes with an SD card. Recording starts the minute the car starts, he says, and it will last about a week before it recycles the footage.
Another system is hooked up to a unit which outputs footage to his car TV screen.
According to Seow it now costs from RM600 to RM1,000 to install a simple in-car camera system. A CCTV system can cost up to RM7,000.
However, he reminds, interested drivers need to ensure that their camera has a high resolution as well as wide-angle lens.
“Without them, the camera will be pointless as the image captured will be blur,” he says.
He also assures that there will not be any infringement of privacy when using the camera as roads are public spaces.
Unfortunately, capturing the number plates of the criminal's car (or motorcycle in the case of smash-and-snatch incidents) is still a problem as the vehicle has to be stationary for a period of time to be recorded clearly.
“Usually they move too fast,” Seow says.
More importantly, he adds, we have to remember that the camera alone cannot be a deterrent or preventive measure.
“It is mainly for proof. If you have an in-car camera system without securing your car, it will be worse. You will be a target for car thieves. You have to hide your camera and secure your car by getting a security film for your windows and windscreen.
“However, with the in-car camera, we may be able to help others if there are crimes, especially in abduction and kidnap cases.”
Ultimately, he adds, we need the authorities to stop crime.
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