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Tech tips

Security how-to: Turn your phone into a body cam

Cameras have changed dramatically in recent years. In previous decades, cameras were big enough to take up space in your backpack or bag. Now, they’re small enough to fit in your pocket — meaning anyone can shoot high-quality footage with ease.

Having a camera within reach is convenient — but it can also be a lifesaver. From dash cams that capture car accidents to body cameras that film police interactions, crimes that may have gone unnoticed are now easier to expose than ever. Tap or click here to see our favorite affordable dash cams for your car.

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a violent or criminal incident, having footage of the event can protect you from harm or jail time. If you’re looking for an easy way to keep others accountable, you can transform your phone into a full-fledged body cam without breaking the bank. Here’s how.

Body cams can back up your word

Imagine that you’re a victim of a violent crime and have to prove that you acted in self-defense. Having video footage of the incident would be much more effective than simply telling a police officer what happened. At this point, it’s no longer your word against another person’s — you have proof of exactly what went down.

If you have a situation where you’re regularly threatened, harassed or targeted by someone, video footage can protect you and your family from harm. With a discrete body cam, you can record what’s happening to you as evidence for your case. Best of all, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get one. All you need is your smartphone and an app.

A body cam for less than $3

If you’re a police officer or security guard, a high-quality body camera is the right call for your line of work. But ordinary civilians can make do with their smartphone — and this app makes it easy to record what’s happening without holding your phone.

The Video Armor app for Android and iOS is just $2.99 and turns your phone into a body cam that records your surroundings while you’re focused on other things. It features GPS integration, which can tag your video with location, as well as notes fields for police officer’s names or other parties involved. Make sure to only fill these out when it’s safe to do so.

Bonus: Check out this “Kim Komando Show” YouTube clip to find out more about Video Armor.

Video Armor’s biggest selling point is how it can keep recording even when the screen is locked. This means it’s perfect to use without being obvious. In a pinch, you can easily stow your phone in your shirt pocket and let the camera roll. Just make sure the lens is peeking over the fabric before you start recording.

These cameras are easy to hide and easy to use

If you don’t mind spending some money, you can use a discrete wireless body camera to capture footage. Most of these cameras are small enough to clip to your clothing and are lightweight enough to go wherever you do.

This affordable wireless camera from Body Cop can clip to your clothes and record what’s happening around you. It shoots high-resolution 1080p footage and can continuously record for four hours. It also costs less than $50, which makes it a perfect emergency companion.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, this waterproof body camera from Cammpro is built to handle all kinds of bumps and drops and will keep on recording in 1296P high-definition footage even after it’s soaked in water. It’s also capable of night-vision recording, which makes it perfect for incidents that happen at night. It never hurts to be prepared.

You never know when an emergency will happen that you need on tape. Having a convenient body camera, whether it’s your phone or a standalone camera is the best way to make sure whatever happens is captured for good.

Related: Tap or click here to see how an Arizona police body cam made its way on to eBay with the footage still inside

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