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Short Range Tracking Device

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Hi all!
This is my first post, but I have a legitimate need for a tracking device. I live on a college campus, after only one week things are being stolen, and I would presume this is by the same person.

This being said, my general idea is to lay a trap if you will, with a bug inside of it that will be stolen to lead us backto our things (hopefully). So, what I would like to do is see if someone could help me with a tracking device. Is there a way I can build a device I can track with my XPS M1530 Laptop? Alternatively, I suspect the thief lives near me, so all I need is something very LOW power that I can track fairly accurately, if I could find a GUI interface with directional arrows that would be nice, but whatever works.

In addition, if the stolen goods are smuggled out of the immediate vicinity I would like to build an additional transmitter with an extended (though less than 1 mile) range. My campus is very small and this would lead me roughly to the more accurate and lower power tracking device.

If anyone has any detailed ideas, suggestions, or advice, I would be more than appreciative so that I can put this to an end.
Wouldn't it be cheaper to just lock up your stuff before you leave your room?

Receiving a signal from a miniature transmitter is not the problem. The problem starts with tracking.

Well that's the thing, yes people keeping their rooms locked helps- but keys and clothes are being stolen off of hooks while people shower, etc, which at the very least people take their key with them to the shower if they do lock their door. Is there a tracking solution similar to how wireless works on a laptop? maybe directional arrows are asking a lot (im sure it is for my budget) but either bars that light up as I get near, or an audible beep would be nice.
How would the bugging device know the item had been stolen? It could not be transmitting all the time - the batteries would not last. Maybe a 2.4GHz transceiver device that listens for an activation code from a hand held transceiver. Once activated, your HH unit would listen for the return signal. A simple antenna with directional gain could give some indication of the direction the signal was coming from.

There are also special devices for use as RF identity tags available.
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To catch a thief or critter.

A simple video and movement detection system (Police often have such equipment). If you report this to the police they may aid you in catching the thief. If it's a one man operation then you will have little trouble in locating the item's once identified.

On campus we often setup stings which include such a device tracking system (Very Expensive) they use a computer that has been surplussed (Legacy Equipment) this will be of no consequence if lost. But, a huge benefit in catching and recovering other stolen goods.

Just a suggestion. Good luck.

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Right, my general idea is a sting operation of sorts, I plan to let an item be stolen, call campus security, and lead them to it's location- hopefully leading us to our "lost" things, so battery life isn't necessarily an issue and it would be useful if it did constantly transmit.

Is there a low power device that would work only around 15 feet? (including through walls) as that is about as far as it is from the hallway to the other end of a dorm room. Not to mention if I do build this it could come in handy in the future.
It's more likely someone off-campus (and probably not a student or not a fellow student) living in nearby cheap accomodation (slum apartments?) using the campus as their own little "shopping mall". Probably anyone in those apartments would know who is doing the deed. Some well placed inquiries (with lube) would probably get you the name of the evil-doer.

Or contact some of the local HAM guys and arrange a foxhunt, use one of their little fox transmitters and tell them shooting the fox is optional. :D
Well, I'm sure it was somewhere here. All students live on campus.. etc.. and because of how the floor system works... sigh.. lol...
I had an issue like this before. The best way (and most cost effective way) to catch this guy is to setup a hidden camera. Simply record the area with the "steal me" device and see if you can identify him/her that way. If it was me though Id get all the people who have "lost" things and watch the camera live...when the thief pounces so do you with all your friends. You could have security assisting you also.

Another "tech" way to do this is build a circuit to sound a loud alarm at a specific time. Set it for 11pm for example...leave it for the taking and at the specific time you and your friends can be listening for it in various parts of the building.

anyway, good luck
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I think every college has this problem every start up of every semester.

My one I went to right out of high school did.
He was caught and spent a few weeks in a cast and crutch's the first year I was there.
Us small town country boys have our own disciplinary system.:eek:

A former coworker had a great story about his college and some some nut was randomly slashing tires for no good reason.

The short version is he was found out and his car was found a few miles away from town a few days later apparently smashed nearly flat by a large and unknown piece of construction or farm equipment. :eek::D

That one was said to have even made local news!

Worse part was he was some scholarship winning rich kid who had no reasons for doing what he did. The college booted him fortunately and all of his auto insurance money paid for a lot of new tires that fall! :)
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