If you pick the right type of dummy security camera, even the smarter thieves will think twice before robbing your home or business. A lot of it depends on your choice of dummy cameras. Some appear to be exactly like "the real thing" even to a legitimate security expert. If they can fool an expert, they'll probably fool your crook.
Before we go further, it should be mentioned that high quality security surveillance systems are available today that are at a much higher quality with a lot lower price tag than they were even just a few years ago. And a lot easier to install and maintain. But, that's for another blog post.
Let's look at what you can expect from a "dummy security camera". Here is the main thing that you need to know: you need to install a fake camera that looks exactly like a real one. And you need to make the installation appear to be just the same way an actual camera would be installed.
Let's make it real simple with just a few bulleted "Do's and Don'ts":
"Do's" of Dummy Security Cameras
• Get one that has an actual lens with a real metal housing, instead of plastic housing
• You want a valid looking "seal of authenticity" to appear on the side of the metal housing.
• In a wall mounted camera, it will be installed to appear that the wires are coming and going into the wall mount. In cameras not wall mounted, they will use two matching cables consistent with real cameras. There can be zero difference.
• Mulholland Security also promotes the usage of the “dummy dome.” This dummy is, externally, an exact copy of a genuine camera. In some applications it more effectively creates doubt in the criminal’s mind. This dummy meets all of the above points, and the housing is not a factor.
• Don't get a dummy with a red blinking light located on the face of the camera. These lights are installed simply to give the impression of an active security system, while it obviously does not serve any real purpose. Everyone except the most amateur bad guy knows this.
• Don't get a dummy that has only one wire. In order for a real camera to function as part of a valid security system, the camera needs one cable for power and another, separate cable to connect to the rest of the security system, i.e., monitors and recorders.
• The next failed attempt is a moving camera. This fails because these dummies move at random instead of tracking an individual as a genuine camera of this type would.
Career criminals know these random moving cameras are phonies. Just don’t buy them.
We suggest the "dummy dome" (described in the "Do's" section above) over the fake moving camera.
• Mulholland Security also recommends being thorough and including the usage of signage as a companion measure to the cameras.
The presence of signs warning that an area is under surveillance absolutely compliments the cameras as part of an overall security system. Again, it’s what the real systems do, and the pros know it!
Could This Cheaper Solution Backfire?
Finally: it’s true that many people are opting for dummy camera systems because of their affordability, ease of installation, and almost non-existant maintenance needs.
However, please consider that professional thieves are usually educated in the various systems and typically recognize a fake. So, great care must be taken to make it match a genuine system. Bad dummy cams can “double cross” you when they are identified as fake by the criminal. He’ll be aware that other security measures are also likely to be for dummies.
There are also potential legal issues to consider. I am not a lawyer; you’ll need to ask yours for any facts or guidance before moving forward.
Legal liabilities in public places are often a completely different situation. The public think they are real; the criminal determines they are not and commits the crime and someone is hurt or assaulted. Obviously, you would be asked for the video of the area for that time period.
If your cameras are dummies you would not be able to produce them. In scenarios like this, you quite likely have a legal situation.
In the worst case this may include injuries to customers and employees. And, as a consequence lawsuits against the management company and the building owners.
Those who utilize such equipment must balance their desire to save money against the potential for injury and loss of property.
Always check with an attorney to make sure your implementation of any dummy camera or signage has you operating within the law, and doing what is right for your residents or clientele.
Feel free to call any time with any security questions or concern.
Avi Ben David
Mulholland Security Centers, Inc.