Last summer, I moved from a large city to a remote area in West Virginia. My summer adventures took me to a seemingly unnamed back country road. As I cautiously drove in and out of hills and hollers I couldn’t help but hear the gravel road, crunch beneath my tires and admire the way the sun beams danced among trees. Suddenly, veering around another switchback, my city girl heart began to race. As if out of nowhere, a large apparatus and two signs appeared. One read “Closed Circuit Television and Audio Monitoring on Premises”. The other had a picture of a gun and said “Prayer Is the best way to meet the Lord, Trespassing is Faster!” Yikes! My mind was flooded with potential worst case scenarios, all plagued by a lack of cell service.
Urged by my native WV passengers, I crept closer. Breathing a tremendous sigh of relief, I realized the security apparatus was in fact an old flat screen TV mounted sideways to the truck of a tree. The screen was covered with a large mirror to look like a camera. My heart calmed. Whew! While one must applaud the right brain ingenuity, converting an old flat screen TV into a fake security camera system, the whole thing just seemed like a big joke now. In fact, we all jumped out of the car and took a selfie with giant security TV and intimidating signs. While the majority of dummy security cameras aren’t homemade look-a-likes mounted to a tree, there are a few, not so obvious, things to consider before mounting a phony security camera.
Perhaps you are a business owner who has a known security issue. You may feel the necessity to take security into your own hands, possibly installing a dummy security camera to hopefully deter future criminal activity. However, this is not always a wise choice. For example, let’s say there is a known security issue in your company parking lot. Employees do not know the parking lot security cameras you installed are fake. Employees park their cars with "peace of mind", knowing a real security system is in place. This creates a false sense of security and has subsequently exposed you to future liability if the employee were to experience a crime and ask for security footage. Again and again, dummy cameras are being installed and lawsuits for liability are popping up like ramps (a type of onion native to WV).
While dummy security cameras are looking more and more real, the information about how to tell the real cameras from the fake is not hard to find. Have you ever googled how to tell if a security camera is fake? The amount of reading material accompanied by pictures is quite phenomenal. After about 30 minutes of scouring the internet and reading multiple blog posts, I feel as though I'm a self-proclaimed dummy security camera expert. Some differences are blatantly obvious, while others are more subtle. For example, some dummy security cameras even simulate action tracking. While you may feel this is fool proof, any security specialist or well-informed criminal will easily be able to tell the difference. A real security camera is designed to auto track, meaning it follows your every move, while a dummy security camera won't track you, it will simply move sporadically.
Lastly, dummy security cameras are designed to deter. They do nothing more than attempt to cause the criminal to think twice. With criminals disregarding even real security camera systems, do you really want to risk it?
For most, when it comes to protecting a home or business, budget is one of the main reasons dummy security cameras win the bid. Its true, the majority of security camera installations do require an upfront cost however, for most, achieving peace of mind and avoiding these common pitfalls is well worth it.