Dummy security cameras imitate the appearance of real cameras and many people use them to deter theft and other petty crimes. Although the untrained eye does not discern the difference between a dummy and an actual working camera, debate on their usage represents an issue within the field of security. Many security experts disagree over how effectively these cameras work.
Pros and Cons of a Dummy Security Camera
The most outstanding advantage that a dummy camera gives to its users is its affordability. They are simply cheaper than real camera systems and only consist of a lens, metal housing, and one or more wires. In addition, dummy cameras are easier to install as they do not require connections to other equipment. With fewer parts they also require less maintenance than real systems.
On the other hand, the debate on dummy cameras centers on how much these systems influence potential perpetrators of crime. Some experts hold that the presence of these cameras causes discomfort for some people and thus acts as an effective deterrent. Others hold that knowledgeable thieves are readily able to identify a dummy camera and thus simply ignore it.
In a legal context, courts have held that cameras provide customers and employees with a reasonable measure of security. Therefore, the failure of dummy cameras to deter the incidence of crime may incur legal action. Potential customers of dummy cameras should carefully weigh several factors:
- The difference in price between a dummy camera and a real camera
- The value of what they wish to protect
- The possibility of lawsuits
Characteristics of a Quality Dummy Security Cameras
A prevalent feature among dummy camera is a blinking light located at the front of the camera itself. This light is installed simply to give people the impression of a security system, while it obviously does not serve any other purpose. Because most real security camera systems do not include this light, many experts advise not to buy cameras with that feature. For many perpetrators of crime this light is an easily recognizable sign that there is no legitimate security system present, allowing them to freely commit any crime they wish.
Other signs that a camera is not real or part of a legitimate security system is the presence of only one wire. In order to function as part of a legitimate security system, a camera needs one cable for power and another, separate cable to connect to the rest of the security system, i.e., monitors and recorders.
In the case of moving cameras, those that seem to move at random instead of tracking an individual also may lead potential perpetrators to the belief that the system is fake.
Many experts agree that a dummy camera that appears legitimate has:
- An actual lens
- Real metal housing, instead of plastic
- A seal of authenticity on the side of the metal housing; and two cables
Many promote the usage of the "dummy dome." This camera, also available in a legitimate variety, more effectively creates doubt in people's minds over the possibility that they are fake. First, there are no lights, blinking or otherwise. Second, they do not move, so it is impossible to tell if the lens is tracking or not. Third, after installation, there are no other visible parts, such as wires, to the camera.
In short, this type of camera may afford more deterrence than other dummy systems.
More realistic systems are also more expensive so consumers must decide how much they wish to spend for the quality they desire. Many also recommend the usage of signage as a companion measure to the cameras. The presence of signs warning that an area is under surveillance compliments the cameras as part of an overall security system.
In conclusion, many people opt for dummy camera systems because of their affordability, ease of installation, and low maintenance. However, consumers should be aware that perpetrators of crime may recognize fake systems and simply ignore them, causing potential loss of property and money, and may also incur lawsuits or crime-related injuries to customers and employees. Consumers must balance their desire to save money against the potential for injury and loss of property.