Updated October 12, 2018 by Sheila O'Neill

The 8 Best Dummy Security Cameras

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This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in October of 2016. One of the best ways to secure your house or business without the expense of a home-monitoring or surveillance system, is by installing one of these dummy security cameras. Offering a convincing facsimile of the real thing, they should deter most would-be thieves and intruders. Many of our options include extra details, like red LEDs and fake wires that can even fool more experienced criminals. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best dummy security camera on Amazon.

8. Idaodan Outdoor/Indoor

7. DragonPad Security

6. VideoSecu C4B

5. Zosi Surveillance

4. Sabre Burglar Deterrent

3. Armo Dome

2. Masione CCTV

1. Wali Bullets

When To Use Dummy Security Cameras

For example, business owners often mix dummy cameras in with real cameras, especially in retail environments.

A dummy security camera is a fake, non-functioning camera that’s designed to look like those security cameras that are part of closed-circuit television systems. Whereas real cameras monitor and record for security purposes, dummy cameras only provide an illusion. There are many reasons that people opt for a dummy security camera instead of the real thing, but the biggest is financial: Dummy cameras are much more affordable than their functioning counterparts. Although dummy cameras won’t provide you with any help in the event of a crime, if used properly, they may help deter criminals in certain situations.

For example, business owners often mix dummy cameras in with real cameras, especially in retail environments. They position the real cameras over the most crucial areas, such as the cash register and front door, then place the dummy security cameras in less vulnerable areas, like a break room. In this way they can make their security budget cover more ground, so to speak, as customers and workers assume that all of the cameras are capturing their activity.

In much the same fashion, homeowners sometimes place dummy security cameras in less-accessible areas while putting the real thing near places that are susceptible to break-ins, including the front and back doors. There are also homeowners who have residential alarms that rely on dummy cameras as a deterrent; they know that if someone does break in, the alarm will notify the authorities. And, of course, some homeowners may have neither CCTV system nor alarm and so may rely solely on dummy cameras to scare off would-be intruders.

Of course, you don’t have to own a house to get use from a dummy security camera. You might place one above your apartment door or even inside your living space. If you have people coming in and out of your home often, perhaps babysitters or repair persons, you might use a dummy model to prevent them from snooping around your bedroom or closet.

While these are all great uses for a dummy security camera, if you have a situation that truly requires heightened security, you might want to spring for a real security camera. For instance, if you have a stalker or you routinely keep large sums of money in your home (for any reason, we don’t judge), then the real thing will help ensure that you have evidence should anything unfortunate happen.

Tips For Choosing A Dummy Security Camera

When you think about it, a dummy security camera is a kind of a lie, so like a lie, it had better be convincing if anyone is going to believe it — especially since experienced criminals (and some casual observers) can spot fakes from a mile away. Fortunately, though, it’s easy to avoid this pitfall, since manufacturers today are sensitive to trends and realities in the world of security cameras.

Finally, some dummy security cameras are motion-activated; when someone walks by, the camera will begin to swivel.

One way dummy cameras mimic the real thing is by having visible wires, unless they’re of the dome type. A camera that’s missing this small detail looks obviously fake, so when you’re deciding which dummy camera to buy, make sure that it looks like it connects to something.

Another way dummy cameras seem authentic is through the use of LEDs. Be cautious, however, that the LED isn’t too bright and obvious, as most real security cameras don’t announce their presence in such a fashion. Instead, you want a low-profile monitoring light that is realistic without being over-the-top.

Additionally, dummy cameras that resemble actual models on the market, down to the lenses and materials, will be the most effective, since they’re harder to discern from the real thing. And if they have markings, they should be discrete. A big, fake brand name is often not effective, because the dedicated criminal can search the internet and see that the camera is a dummy.

Finally, some dummy security cameras are motion-activated; when someone walks by, the camera will begin to swivel. Most of these don’t actually track the movements of an individual, though, so a truly savvy criminal may be aware that the unit is fake. On the other hand, it’s likely that petty thieves and those who engage in crimes of opportunity will be scared off by such a feature.

The Behavior Of Being Watched

The verdict on whether visible surveillance cameras deter crime is still out; various studies have both supported and disproven the idea that people refrain from criminal activities if they feel they’re being watched. Some suggest that surveillance systems merely displace crimes, while others maintain that cameras and neighborhood watch programs have shown encouraging results. While both sides make convincing arguments, two principles of human behavior seem to suggest that surveillance does indeed have a useful behavior-modifying effect.

Eventually, this data led to the idea that the subjects were ultimately reacting to the observers, not the conditions.

One of these is called the Hawthorne effect, which takes its name from a study conducted in the first half of the 20th century. Researchers set out to determine how working conditions affected productivity, but their results indicated that no matter how they changed the conditions, for better or for worse, productivity increased. Eventually, this data led to the idea that the subjects were ultimately reacting to the observers, not the conditions. In broad terms, then, the Hawthorne effect describes the way that the act of being observed causes people to modify their behaviors. It’s possible that a dummy security camera, which gives the illusion that someone is watching, may trigger this behavioral modification.

Another principle relates to gaze detection, a system in the brain that helps you determine when someone is looking at you, even if you aren’t looking at them. You’ve probably noticed this, in fact — have you ever just felt that someone was staring at you? That was the gaze detection system at work, which evolved to subconsciously pick up the focus and body positioning of those around you so that you can react to a threat, if need be. While this facility is for detecting human watchers, not cameras, there’s evidence to suggest that signs with pictures of eyes and staring faces subconsciously draw attention. In conjunction with dummy security cameras, these signs may have a strong ability to alter behavior for the better.

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Sheila O'Neill
Last updated on October 12, 2018 by Sheila O'Neill

Sheila is a writer and editor living in sunny Southern California. She studied writing and film at State University of New York at Purchase, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree. After graduating, she worked as an assistant video editor at a small film company, then spent a few years doing freelance work, both as a writer and a video editor. During that time, she wrote screenplays and articles, and edited everything from short films to infomercials. An ardent lover of the English language, she can often be found listening to podcasts about etymology and correcting her friends’ grammar.

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