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The Dangers of Using Dummy Cameras (For Your Home or Business)

Previously on this blog we wrote about the dangers of fake security signage and decals, and this post will delve into a similar topic. “Dummy Cameras,” or fake video surveillance equipment, might seem like a cheap solution to increase security – emphasis on “cheap”… however, as with fake signs and decals, dummy cameras often end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

Unconvincing Aesthetic Appearance

Typically, a seasoned criminal will be able to pick out a fake security camera quite easily. Dummy cameras often have a blinking red light to make it appear as if it’s real, but burglars now know that’s a tell-tale sign of a fake camera. And that’s not the only problem. By law, business owners are required to display signs indicating that there are video surveillance cameras present.

So, that means dummy cameras actually require fake signage as well. These two deceptive strategies coupled together only compound the problem. With fake cameras and signage present in the same place, a strong yet false sense of security is created. In a time of emergency, the last thing a business owner needs is a false sense of security created by fake surveillance equipment. The only reliable solution is to do things the professional way, and invest in a video surveillance system.

Laws and Regulations Still Apply to Dummy Cameras

All Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Systems, even the fake ones, are required to follow a strict set of laws. All cameras must be placed in law-abiding locations, if a dummy camera overlooks private property or is directed towards a window, there could be legal problems that arise. So, even if you do purchase a dummy camera, you still have to put the time and effort into following the laws. At that point, it would make more sense to invest your time and money into a system that can legitimately improve the safety of your business.

dummy security cameras

Short Term Benefits, Long Term Dangers

Installing dummy cameras may deter criminals in the short run, but as soon as someone discovers that the cameras are fake, it could cost you big time in the long run. For example, say you have fake security cameras installed in your parking lot, if someone knows that the cameras are fake, they could plan a robbery and get away quickly without their license plate being identified. A legitimate camera system would be able to record and capture the license plates of a thief, a dummy camera will leave you hanging high and dry.

Legal Risks

According to Security Info Watch columnist Ken Kirschenbaum, a New York-licensed lawyer, the issue with dummy cameras lies in this question: “How does dummy equipment mislead subscribers or other potential third parties into a false sense of security?” If there is a false sense of security implied, people have the right to rely on that security and may very well expose the responsible party for the false sense of security. For example, Kirschenbaum says, if a landlord were to install dummy cameras in a laundry room in order to encourage residents to use the machines properly, he or she may suffer the consequences of liability if a tenant were to be injured under the assumption that the room was being monitored.

According to Kirschenbaum, when it boils down to it, security cameras really have two purposes: they monitor in real time so that an incident can be stopped or minimized and they record to provide identification and evidence down the road.

A dummy camera simply does not do either of those things, it provides a false sense of security that will likely harm every party involved down the road.