Should I Hide My Dash Cam?
Installing a dash cam in your car can give you peace of mind when you're on the road, knowing that you have a clear recording of any incidents you may encounter. But a good quality dash cam can be expensive – and leaving a device that can cost several hundred dollars sitting in your car in an unfamiliar place or a high-crime area can be worrisome. Are dash cams a theft risk? Is a thief more or less likely to break in if they see one? Should you hide your dash cam or remove it from your car when you're not driving? These are common questions, but the answers depend on the type of camera you have and how it's installed in your vehicle.
Often, when a car is broken into, it's a crime of opportunity. The thief will likely choose a quiet, unmonitored location like a parking lot or out of the way street, and look for easy targets: unlocked cars, open windows, and items in clear view. Breaking into a car takes time and is risky, even in isolated areas, so a thief is more likely to go for a "sure thing" than risk the effort of getting into a car and finding nothing worth taking. Before worrying about hiding your dash cam, make sure that there's nothing else to make your vehicle a target. If your car is broken into, a thief may take a camera along with other items even if the dash cam was not what attracted them in the first place.
Should I Leave My Dash Cam in the Car?
The size and shape of your dash camera, as well as where and how it's installed, can affect how visible it is – as well as whether or not you can remove it from your vehicle easily. A larger dash cam is likely to be more visible than a small, tube-style camera that tucks up under your rearview mirror. Most dash cams are relatively small and discreet; they need to be to minimize the amount of space they take up on your windshield. The same is true of rear-view dash cams, which often go unnoticed in their position on the rear window.
Depending on how your dash cam is installed, it may not be practical to remove it from your vehicle every time. If your camera has an adhesive mount, for example, it cannot be pulled off repeatedly without the adhesive losing its grip; however, some dash cams use a magnetic connection between the camera and the adhesive mount so you can easily detach the camera and store it safely. A dash cam with suction cup mounts may be easier to remove, but it will take time and effort to reattach the device in the right location each time, plugging everything in, and making sure the camera is working correctly.
Hiding Dash Cam Cables
If you do want to leave your dash cam in the car – or if you cannot easily remove it – hiding the dash cam cords so they are less visible may make the camera less of a target for thieves. If a thief can see cables hanging across your windshield or even within the car, they might be enticed to break in with the hope of finding expensive electronics to steal. By hiding your dash cam wires, you will draw less attention to your car and give your installation a clean, professional look. Read on for some tips on how to hide dash cam wires or check out our article on Helpful Tips for Dash Cam Installation.
For front-facing dash cams, which usually are mounted just below the rearview mirror, the power cord can be run up the windshield and along the headliner or "lip" where the windshield meets the roof of the car, then down the side of the windshield against the A-pillar, tucking it against or under the rubber sealing. Firmly wrap the cord around the corner of the dashboard (you may need glue or tape to hold it in place) and under the glove compartment until you reach the center console and the power source. Alternately, you can run the cable under the floor mats, if it's long enough. As you run the cord along the pillar and down the side of the dashboard, make sure that it's connected securely and won't get caught in the door. For rear-facing dash cams, the cable will need to run along the headliner and then down the C-pillar or along the floor of the car.
If your camera has an available hardwire kit, you'll be able to connect the dash cam directly to your vehicle's fuse box. This can be done yourself, if you have the know-how, but can also be handled by a professional. You'll likely still need to tuck the wires away as explained above. A hard-wired dash cam allows for additional security features like motion sensing security and parking mode, which can be an effective theft deterrent.
Anti-Theft Dash Cams
One of the main benefits of a dash cam is its "always on" nature – whenever you're driving, the camera is recording the road ahead of you. When your camera is hardwired into your vehicle's fuse box, it becomes even more effective, allowing you to record the environment around the car even when the vehicle is turned off. Look for a smart dash camera, such as those in the Cobra SC series, which offer motion sensing and parking mode. Motion sensing allows the camera to detect movement near your vehicle, recording for a pre-set period of time to capture any activities that take place within the camera's range. With parking mode, the camera turns on automatically when the G-sensor detects an impact, capturing video after your car is bumped – or if a window is smashed. When combined with built-in WiFi and cloud storage, you'll be able to store and share video easily.
The reality is that, if someone wants to break into your car, there isn't much you can do to prevent it other than to keep valuables out of sight. While the visible presence of a dash cam might deter some break-ins, a thief who is hoping that a smash-and-grab will bring them some quick cash likely doesn't care. Having a hardwired dash cam with motion sensing and parking mode that will record the incident and upload the footage to the cloud might not prevent your car from being a target, but it can provide you with video evidence of the crime and could make dealing with the police and your insurance company a little easier.