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Fake vs. Real Security Cameras: Do Fake Security Cameras Work?

December 5, 2023

Too busy to read? Here’s a short summary:

  • Fake security cameras can be somewhat effective as a crime deterrent because they create an illusion of surveillance. However, the effectiveness of their deterrence factor is limited compared to real security cameras, especially against intruders who can spot fakes.
  • The main benefits of using real security cameras over fake ones include actual footage capabilities and evidence collection.

Considering that businesses are four times more likely to be burglarized than homes, effective security measures are crucial for commercial security. Functional cameras can significantly reduce incidents like burglary, shoplifting, and vandalism that threaten corporate profitability and put small businesses out of business every day.

Because criminals are less likely to target businesses and homes with security systems with visible cameras and alarms, the deterrent effect of security cameras provides value—even when those cameras are fake.

But for effective site security and accountability, are fake cameras enough, or do they need to be real?

It’s an important question, and a lot is at stake—for your budget, your assets, and the people who trust that they are safe while on your property.

Keep on reading for the Mammoth Security lowdown on real vs. fake security cameras.

The Illusion of Surveillance

Real security cameras outdoors

The Deterrent Effect

Fake security cameras, often termed 'dummy cameras,' are built to mimic the appearance of real surveillance cameras.

Their main goal is to act as a deterrent, and the logic is pretty straightforward: if potential bad actors, like shoplifters and intruders, believe they're being watched, they're less likely to commit crimes.

Cost-Effectiveness and Ease of Installation

One of the key selling points of dummy cameras is their cost-effectiveness. They're significantly cheaper than their real counterparts and are easier to install. After all, they neither require cabling for power nor for video data transmission to storage devices and real-time interfaces.

Along the same lines, fake cameras require absolutely no video data storage devices or plans because they don't capture any surveillance. They just look pretty—or intimidating if a person is up to no good.

For businesses operating on a tight budget, fake cameras can seem like an attractive option because the deterrence they provide is better than nothing.

Real vs. Fake: The Security Showdown

Perception vs. Reality

While fake cameras might look convincing from a distance, a closer inspection can often reveal their true nature.

Experienced criminals can often tell the difference between reals and fakes, which diminishes the deterrence effect of fake cameras.

Lack of Evidence

In the unfortunate event of a break-in or theft, fake cameras offer no recourse.

Because they don’t capture footage, there’s no evidence to help in investigations or in the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators. And they certainly can’t provide the real-time notifications and footage streams that can result in arrests while bad guys are in the act.

The Role of Authentic Surveillance

Evidence Collection

Real cameras not only act as a deterrent, but they also provide valuable footage.

Footage is crucial for identifying culprits, understanding the sequence of events up to and after crimes, and improving future security measures.

Security Features

Modern commercial-grade security cameras (that work) are likely to provide features like remote monitoring access, motion detection, night vision surveillance, and remote access to live streams and recorded footage.

Dummy cameras, on the other hand, can’t do anything but sit around blindly like modern-day scarecrows.

Best Practices for Effective Security

Assessing Your Security Needs

Before incorporating fake cameras into your security infrastructure, it’s important to assess your security challenges. Consider factors like the size of your premises, the nature of your business, and the level of security risk you face in each area you consider placing dummy cameras.

The Role of Visibility

The visibility of your security measures is a critical factor when it comes to surveillance. Well-placed real cameras, in combination with fake cameras, can improve deterrence by indicating that your business takes no chances with blind spot vulnerabilities.

When installed alongside real cameras, fakes can actually protect real ones from vandalism. Real cameras are protected when bad actors waste precious time attempting to neutralize cameras that don’t work anyway.

Meanwhile, real cameras are wide awake and transmitting valuable data for real-time alerts that can result in the bad guys being caught red handed. At a minimum, dummies can give real cameras extra time to record.

Combining Measures for Maximum Effect

For the best security, consider combining real cameras with other measures like security alarms, proper lighting, and access control barriers. A multi-layered approach significantly enhances overall security.

Mammoth Security and Functional Surveillance

Mammoth Security Logo

While fake security cameras might serve as a basic deterrent, they can't match the comprehensive security and peace of mind provided by real surveillance systems.

After all, security isn't just about deterrence; it's about having the right systems and support in place to stop even the most stubborn thieves and intruders.

And that’s where Mammoth Security steps in. Our expert team is here to guide you through the best solutions to meet your site’s unique security challenges.

Whether it's installing cutting-edge cameras or implementing top-grade access control and alarm systems, our team has the experience and know-how to make sure your property is secure.

Reach out to us today by clicking to contact us and filling out the form. Take advantage of a free site survey and security assessment with an expert from our team.




In business environments, fake security cameras act as a deterrent against crime. They create the illusion of surveillance, which may discourage potential intruders. However, the effectiveness of their deterrence varies depending on the potential wrongdoer’s familiarity with security cameras and ability to spot the fakes.

For small businesses, fake security cameras are a cost-effective option compared to real ones. They are cheaper and easier to install, making them a budget-friendly choice for businesses with severely limited funds that want the appearance of comprehensive coverage without blind spots. On the other hand, they don’t capture any footage and can’t be programmed for proactive notifications and other crime-stopping features of real cameras.

When preventing theft, fake security cameras are less effective than real ones. They lack the ability to record, which is crucial for identifying and prosecuting thieves. Obviously, real security cameras are more useful because they do what all real cameras are designed to do (that is, capture footage).

Experienced criminals can often identify dummy security cameras upon closer inspection. These cameras lack the subtle details and functionalities of real cameras, making them less effective against seasoned intruders.

Most real security cameras offer features like motion detection, remote monitoring, alert notifications, and—most importantly—the ability to capture footage.

Businesses should consider real security cameras despite the higher cost because they provide genuine surveillance, record crucial evidence, and can be integrated into comprehensive security systems.

Visible cameras, whether real or dummy, can act as a deterrent, but real cameras also provide the added benefits of surveillance and evidence collection.

Businesses can enhance their security by combining real cameras with other measures like security alarms, proper lighting, and access control, creating a multi-layered defense system. Including fake cameras alongside real ones can turbocharge deterrence by giving bad actors the impression that they are dealing with a property that takes surveillance tools seriously. What’s more, bad actors who aren’t deterred can be delayed and distracted as they waste precious criminality time attempting to neutralize fake surveillance cameras.

Businesses should consider factors like budget, the nature of the assets being protected, potential security risks, and the need for actual surveillance footage when choosing between real and fake security cameras.

Using a combination of real and fake security cameras can be a strategy for businesses. Real cameras can be used in key areas where surveillance is crucial, while fake cameras can add to the overall appearance of a secure environment to deter or at least misdirect criminals.



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