questionswhat's the best (price/quality) gear to use to…

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Maybe keep an eye out for Zmodo stuff that woot sells. Once you get your footage, resell it online.

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I heard a story about a guy who kept having his mailbox vandalized. He set up a mailbox such that it could easily be removed and replaced. Every morning, he put the mailbox out. After the mailman passed, he picked up his mail. . . and his mailbox, until the next morning. It was a creative solution, and the vandalism stopped.

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Why is this popular with only 7 up votes and two (now three) answers?

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Don't egg them on. When I was in High School, I hung out with these dudes who terrorized this guy after he caught them trying to blow up his mailbox. So they named him "Mr. Anderson" (From Beavis and Butthead - hey this story takes place in the 90's) Basically they tormented this guy for an entire year. His garbage cans would get stolen, mailbox blown up - some dudes even picked up his car and moved it around the block. It escalated quickly

The guy would call the cops, but they never caught them or cracked the case. So he decided he would down to the high school to complain (getting about 30 guys called into the office, me included), that is where his status moved to legendary. I guess he moved shortly after we graduated. I always felt bad for that dude; they didn't have internet cameras then, but if they did that guy would have been friggen CNN

tl:dr - Don't do anything to inspire them to keep F'ing with you

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Get a new mailbox where the pole is made of steel poured with concrete.

You won't catch the guy unless you notice your suspect with sore arms the next day if he's taking a bat to your box. But the vandalism may likely stop.

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any trees relatively near your mailbox? you could always get a game trail camera. should be able to find one in the $100 neighborhood.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=game+trail+camera&sprefix=game+trail%2Caps%2C295

they have color, & infrared cameras & an IR Flash, triggered by motion. can be set to take multiple shots a second or 2 apart when triggered, also usually time and date stamped. most save pics (in .jpg format) to a standard SD card.

the first one that come up on amazon (Primos truth cam) is the same one my dad has out by his bird feeder, covering the back patio and sliding glass door.

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@lichme: that's a great idea, thanks!

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@jazzsinger: that wouldn't work in my case. My mailbox is in a little kiosk with 8-9 others. I don't think the neighbors would appreciate it. Good story and creative solution though!

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@ryanwb: in this case, I am 95% sure it's my neighbor and she is pushing 80 years old at least. She shows no sign of stopping on her own.

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@figgers3036: the vandalism in this case is that the box keeps getting spray painted.

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@earlyre: I thought of using one of those but there are no trees with good proximity for a clear shot. I was thinking that I could maybe put it in my truck behind tinted glass but that may defeat the IR flash.

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@udavidj: OK, now I'm curious. Why would your 80 year old female neighbor spray paint your mailbox?

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@udavidj: Is there any harm other than the bothersome fact that someone is messing with you?

Also, are you in an apartment building? If so, the property being vandalized is actually your landlord's. Tell the landlord that someone is vandalizing your mailbox and that you want him to know it isn't you so he can't deduct it from your security deposit. And also so you can demand that he fix the vandalism. If you add to the top the fact that you suspect it is one of the other tenants, the landlord might even send a letter to all the tenants warning them that the cost of repairs will be added to the offender's rent. Now everyone has a stake in it, particularly the offender.

Or, spraypaint the likely offender's mailbox too. If she confronts you, say you don't know who did it, probably the vandal who spraypainted yours. :)

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I hope this thread stays alive and eventually involves incriminating pictures, potentially infrared or nightvision, of Mrs. Graffiti. That would be excellent.

so much hope ಥ⌣ಥ

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I have a neighbor, 3 houses down, who likes to put trash in my mailbox. I haven't been able to get him on video in the act because the mailbox is at the end of the drive and I have to set the motion detection to be very sensitive. I caught him picking stuff up and tossing it in my yard though. Pretty easy to tell who he was since he's always walking his ugly dog.
I confronted him the other day after seeing him kick another neighbor's firework trash off the street and into my yard. Apparently, he thinks I put every piece of trash he finds in the street and thinks putting it in my mailbox or throwing it in my yard/bushes is the best thing to do... After confronting him and he lied about it, I called the cops. I showed them the evidence I had and they went to talk to him. He hasn't messed with stuff since!
I use a cheapo camera ($15) mounted outside and hooked to my computer. I use ispy to detect motion and record. http://www.ispyconnect.com/download.aspx I have a dedicated PC for this.

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Oh, I should mention the dude is a retired veteran. While everyone else is at work, I guess he has nothing better to do than walk around the neighborhood as litter patrol. I also told our mail carrier about him in case he finds stuff in other people's mailboxes.

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@udavidj: If it really is an 80 year old women, maybe she is unwell and her family needs to be told. I'm sure that they are already aware of some strange behavior and would appreciate some confirmation from an outside source to get their family member some help. I know from personal experience, it is easy to brush things off when they first start, but an outsider's comments can help you to know that this is something that needs to be dealt with.

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@wilfbrim: apparently she wants to control how the mailboxes look. I paint my box red and she spray paints the front of the box black. This has happened several times.

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@dupedyetagain: it's annoying. I own the mailbox and she (allegedly) is vandalizing it. I don't want to stoop to her level, I just want to identify the culprit and let the police deal with it.

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@bsmith1: great story and pointer. I'm looking into that software. I will need to build a windows machine to use it though. Not out of the question, just effort to plan for.

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@ceagee: I do think that is the case but her sons are complicit. She actually forced her next door neighbor to move away. She sweet talked the wife and got all kinds of personal information from her and then used it to slander her. She called the state and cause them to lose foster parent status, she called her employer and fed them a bunch of lies to get them to fire her (they didn't). She called the state on my next door neighbor who runs a home healthcare and now he has to endure monthly inspections. She directed a complete stranger to my house to confront my five year old about vandalizing his car - at 11:00PM! (Son was in Florida at the time). There's much more. She is kookoo.

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@udavidj: Holy carp, what a wacko. I don't envy you. Good luck.