Car thieves in Reading risk being filmed from inside the vehicles they break into.
A thief is caught in the act by a trap car
"Trap cars", which are fitted with surveillance equipment, are being planted across the Berkshire town in a joint police and council partnership.
The recorded evidence could be used to lead to the arrest of criminals.
A spokeswoman for the Safer Reading Partnership said the "major crime crackdown" was aimed at deterring thieves rather than arresting them.
The scheme, unlike those used in other regions, will not set cars up to be "honey traps" with satellite navigation systems and stereos planted to lure thieves.
"The cars look like any other, the recording equipment is activated if the cars are broken into," the spokeswoman said.
"People have dabbled but not on this scale, we're using the equipment in different ways and in different vehicles."
The cars will be parked around Reading for the "foreseeable future", with the anti-car crime campaign due to run for two years.