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ibneko
ibneko
Parking Meters, Urbana IL
So today I saw pairs of people walking along parking meters, one person opening the coin collection box, and the other person holding a handheld scanner up against the top of the meter (where the displays are)

When I inquired after the reason for the handheld scanner, they informed me that it was to see how much money had gone through the meter. "Down to the very nickel. 'cause we had a person who tried to steal money from meters."

But the problem with that is that their method was rather inexact - all the money from each meter went into a can. While they'd know if some money was missing from a row of meters, they wouldn't be able to figure out exactly which one. I guess that isn't all that important though - the knowing of exactly which meter was robbed...

Also, it looks like the way the meters are designed, it'd be impossible to only take a portion of the contents - The meters open upwards, and coins immediately fell into the can he held below it.

Not too sure why one would try stealing from meters, you'd have to rob the entire city's meters in order to get enough change to really do anything. A better waste of time would be to find some way to replicate that dongle that you shove into the meter, so at least you get free parking.

Or, get a universal remote (Hm, TV-B-Gone) and flash it at the meters to see if you could clear them meters.

Although I was rather surprised 'bout the scanner - I had assumed that they would have hooked the meters up to a network - obviously, the meters are getting power from power that runs up the meter-pole thingie, why not hook them up to some network while they're at it?

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Comments
fbartho From: fbartho Date: March 30th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
since when do they get power from the meter pole? I bet its all batteries... otherwise, they could have the network report where the meters have just expired and the meter maids could run around catching people the second their meter runs out...
ibneko From: ibneko Date: March 30th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Batteries? But imagine the hassle~ You'd have to recharge/replace the thing every so often, and they certainly weren't doing that. And people would have to check every so often to make sure the batteries didn't die. Granted, maybe they do replacing/whatnot some other day of the month, but I still think it'd be much more expensive to do batteries...

Mind, of course, our meters are digital, so they probably also drain more power than the ones that have curvy flags. Maybe.

Meh, I dunno. And there's also a possibility that they are networked, and the handheld thing does something else, and I was being lied to. Especially since the meters support dongle-thingies... :: shrugs:: A "coin counter reset" command would make sense, actually.. Hmm...
fbartho From: fbartho Date: March 31st, 2006 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
my room door lock is battery powered. and the batteries are supposed to last for 2 years, if the batteries die, they have to take this heavy duty drill and cut a hole in the door... the process takes 3 hours. I watched them install a couple locks like that and then saw one where they must have misseated the battery or forgotten it... what a waste of time and money. Our meters are digital too... but I don't think it would drain that much power, also one set of meters I saw looked a bit like they had a solar cell in them, but I don't think that bit is actually true
From: superdense Date: March 30th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
the people who steal from meters are generally the people who collect the change. so if they steal one coin per meter per day, it's not really noticed, but it adds up. i have watched them empty the meters in new haven, and the way they have it set up, you take a locked canister out of the meter, and the only way to open it is to stick it in this cart and twist, so the coins fall directly into the cart, which is built such that you can't get the coins out manually.
ibneko From: ibneko Date: March 31st, 2006 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Interesting. It's certainly a possibility, since these guys were collecting into rather beat up cans. Although there were two pairs, and both pairs had that official looking hand-scanner thing. I think the guy actually suspected that I asked because I wanted to steal change. ::amused:: ..it was a hacker's social engineering type question.....
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