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Do Dummy Cameras Provide Any Benefit For Antisocial Behaviour Prevention?

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is one of the most popular forms of crime deterrence and prevention device among UK businesses. Across the country, there are estimated to be more than 5 million such cameras in use, mainly operated by private businesses and local authorities – but also deployed by a growing number of homeowners and resident’s associations.

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Alongside this popularity there has been an inconspicuous rise in the number of people willing to use ‘dummy cameras’ to fool petty criminals rather than installing functioning cameras.

If these are intended for use primarily as deterrence rather than a response to serious threat, it
makes sense. But the question remains; do dummy security cameras work to prevent crime?

To the naked eye a good dummy camera will look identical to a genuine one.

This is what businesses would be hoping as the intention is to make criminals think twice when they see they're being recorded. The issue here is that you're relying on the perpetrator noticing the dummy camera before committing a crime, meaning the camera has to be placed in an obvious spot.

Should they not notice the camera, a real crime may go unnoticed until it's too late, with no means of recording the crime in progress.

Assuming a petty criminal does notice the camera due to effective placement, it might prove useful in deterring them. The distinction between smaller crimes and those instigated by more experienced, smarter perpetrators is important though. A professional criminal is less likely to be fooled by a dummy camera or put off even if they think it's a real one – and unfortunately, many lower-budget dummy cameras are obvious fakes, easily recognised as such by an experienced criminal.

There is another looming issue for dummy camera usage. At the moment they may be a well-kept secret, but as they increase in popularity for business owners, common criminals are likely to become more aware of their increasingly widespread use. They may still be put off as it remains a coin flip whether the camera is real or not, but as more criminals became aware of dummy cameras you may find some taking greater chances when they think they see one.

In this regard, widespread use of mock security cameras may actually decrease the deterrent effect of genuine CCTV, leading to greater boldness among criminals in areas with a CCTV presence.

Are dummy security cameras effective?

They can be, though you are relying heavily on the criminal's reaction to noticing them. In this sense it is a risky gamble for business owners for whom full security measures are important when it comes to factors like insurance claims. Businesses are also more likely to be hit by professionally organised crimes whereas amateur thieves may target homes opportunistically.

In general the rise in CCTV use has worked to reduce crime, which has decreased by 13% in places where it is used. Drug-related crime has decreased by 20%, while vehicle and property crime decreased by 14%.

A dummy camera is no substitute for a fully functioning CCTV and security system – and many
business owners will be pleasantly surprised at the affordable cost of a good quality integrated
system, which has decreased in price as the technology has improved.

Find out more

If you're interested in learning more about how CCTV can be best used in your situation, please get in touch with IC2 CCTV for a quote today.

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