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Is A Fake Security Camera Like A Scarecrow For People?

Fake camera HEADSome parts of the world keep a watchful CCD eye on the people all the time. It hasn't quite happened here in the states yet, but obviously some places are old hands at it. Stores and banks have always had a secret room in the back that's a nest of wires and a sleepy art school student keeping a bleary eye on a row of black and white monitors.

The tech may have changed to tiny discreet cams and a single computer, but has always been tremendously expensive to set up a real security camera network. Some places will mix a few fake cameras in with the real ones to save money, then someone discovered that as long as the staff can keep a secret (and the bad guys never open a Radio Shack catalog), ALL the cameras can be cheap fakes and still be an effective deterrent.

This camera is far too heavy to be a fake. I can't tell too much about this cam. The only information is a sticker on the back and "Video Surveillance System" helpfully stencilled on both sides. The sticker is for "Advanced Metal Technologies" in O'Fallon Missouri which looks to be more of a manufacturing company than a security service. The camera is a heavy sucker, so let's open it up to see the technology powerhouse keeping our lives safer.

Fake cam battWhoops...

Let's review... we've got a fake camera that sees nothing, does nothing. Oh wait, to be fair, it does blink a little red LED on the front. I expect that giant lantern battery kept that little flashy LED circuit going for months, maybe years! I can't tell when exactly this phony camera is from, but I'd guess the 70s or perhaps a misguided 80s. Real security cameras were ugly affairs, and this fake sure qualifies. So even though this camera looks quite fake, I think that in the dark it might just pass. Just.

Obviously it's all about saving money on an elaborate security system while still fooling the non-distinguishing criminal element. One shabby video store I used to go to employed the fakeout camera, but were a little too cheap about it. They nailed up an old super 8 camera. Perhaps the bad guys aren't also camera connoisseurs, but it does seem a bit of a giveaway to have a big bolt sticking through the word "Kodak".

Fake-security-cameraToday's security conscious don't need to concern themselves with a phalanx of expensive fakes. There are dozens of models of fake security cameras out there, many for just a few dollars. More elaborate models have what looks like a glass lens (instead of a shiny black plastic fake like most cheapies), and use a motion sensor to start panning and blinking a light when someone lurks nearby. Even the cheap ones look relatively convincing, and the light and motion may draw the potential thief's eye and enourage him to pack up his stripey shirt and domino mask, and head back to the hideout.

It may even be easier than that to make your place look more secure. So many genuine security cameras look like a little golf-ball webcam, and no one expects those to move or beep. You can just hit the thrift store and dot an armload of webcams all over your store and hope for the best. Though it stops working if someone nips in and steals the webcams...


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