Dummy Security Cameras are used extensively in small retail stores and businesses. I’ll admit it is difficult to find a seasoned professional in the security industry who will recommend fake security cameras as a good response to theft or crime. However they do have their place in the security world, although a modest one at best.
Dummy cameras are regular security camera housings without the electronics inside. They are simply just the shell of a camera this keeps their cost as low as possible and in some situation is the cheapest response to a theft problem. Some dummy cameras go the extra mile and display a red LED light on the front of the housing which is lit bright red or flashes in an attempt to convince a person the camera is real and working. The humorous part about this is real security cameras never have a red flashing LED light indicating it is operating. In fact, it’s safe to assume a camera is a fake if it does have a red flashing light on it.
So when are dummy camera a good idea? Dummy cameras can be a low cost effective solution in helping reduce retail theft and shoplifting with a few exceptions. Dummy cameras positioned to view customers and potential shoplifting areas do help in deterring a customer from stealing. But their effect can be time limited by the situation. If you suspect employees are committing the theft, dummy cameras are a bad idea! Sooner or later they will figure out they are fake. Day after day they will watch the camera and wonder where the recording device is. When safe, they will look in the ceiling for wires and sooner or later they will have a quick look at every office and storage area in the facility where a video recorder and monitor could be hidden. Once they are convinced the camera is a fake the theft will start again.
While dummy cameras can be a cheap, quick response to a problem, it is important to understand there is possible liability you may unknowingly expose yourself to, if you use dummy cameras in the wrong situation. For example, let say you place a dummy camera in a parking lot to view an area where there has been vandalism. Yes it may deter the vandalism, but you could end up in the poor house.
Why? Let’s say it’s late one night and a young girl has parked in the area of the dummy camera. She sees a few questionable people in the parking lot but because there is a security camera she assumes someone is watching and it should be safe, she heads for the car. By placing the camera in the parking lot you have implied a level of security which is not real and does not exist. If the girl is attacked, robbed or worse you could be found liable and responsible for damages, injury and restitution.