Why the cellphone camera has become the latest tool for thieves

Why the cellphone camera has become the latest tool for thieves
You might think that you have all of the odds and ends you keep in your car protected from prying eyes thanks to the tint that you have covering the windows of your vehicle. But according to Memphis television station WREG, anyone with a cellphone can see right through the darkest tint by opening the camera on the device and putting the lens right up to the tinted window.

The report says that this is a new tool used by bad guys looking for guns, purses, and other valuable items inside cars that they can steal and convert into quick cash. The CBS affiliate confirmed that a phone's camera can see through a tinted window (check the photos below). Cops in Memphis say that theft from motor vehicles is the top non-violent crime in the city. If you do leave a gun inside your vehicle, police recommend locking it inside a box or a safe.

Law enforcement also suggests that you lock your car when it is parked, park the vehicle where there is good lighting, make sure that your car alarm (if you have one) is in working condition, and strongly consider installing security cameras around your home.

Because this is illegal, you don't hear phone manufacturers bragging about it. Imagine Jony Ive saying something like, "View everything that a car owner is hiding behind the tinted windows on his car. X-ray auto snooping. The latest feature on the most powerful iPhone yet."

A subreddit called LifeProTips includes a post from a couple of months ago that says, "Like the title says, you hold your phone camera against the tinted window and you will be able to see inside of it. You don't have to take a photo or be recording for it to work. This works in the daytime and nighttime."

The science behind this was revealed by a Reddit user with the handle "First_half_23" who writes, "Basics physics tells us this: When seeing through a tinted glass, the side with the less ambient light can see through to the side with the more ambient light. When you put your camera right on the glass, you're reducing the gap to zero thereby making the side with your phone camera the side with the less ambient light. Therefore, you can see inside."

So now you know why you should be wary when someone appears to be taking a photo of the tinted windows of your parked car. If this person is holding the camera on his phone right up against one of the side windows, you should be suspicious enough to call the police immediately.

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