Do Fake Security Cameras Deter Crime?

If you’re someone who’s not interested in a professional security system or DIY security cameras, there’s another option. The right fake security camera can look identical to the real deal and could theoretically work as a deterrent to would-be criminals.

But are dummy security cameras actually effective at deterring crime?

Why would you choose a fake security camera?

The inherent effectiveness of dummy security cameras is reliant on a theory called panopticism. This theory is derived from a panopticon prison wherein inmates were more likely to behave when they were uncertain of whether they were being monitored by guards who may or may not be watching. In an everyday context, it’s why people tend to conform to laws or social rules when they feel they may be recorded.

Fake security cameras take this concept and offer a deliberately visible deterrent to would-be criminals. At least, that’s the theory. Dummy security cameras are generally cheaper than real-life counterparts and are therefore much easier to install. Better instances look real and have the added benefit of sidestepping potential legal issues around recording others in private settings (like your neighbours).

Why shouldn’t you use a fake security camera?

Getting an authentic-looking fake security camera can cost quite a bit more than a cheap knock-off model. The cheapest legitimate security cameras are priced at around $50, while the better-looking dummy security cameras are close to this amount, too. Basically, if you’re willing to buy and install a dummy security camera, you might as well consider a full-fledged alternative that actually records.

In the event of a break-in, fake security cameras obviously can’t record footage. Experienced criminals may also be able to spot them as fakes. There are also potential legal issues with a security camera that makes people outside your home or business into feeling safe. If they felt safe because they believed dummy security cameras were real, they may have grounds for legal recourse.

We recommend starting with a cheaper DIY security camera that’s easy to install. After all, if you’re willing to install a fake security camera, you might as well install the real thing.

Compare the best home security cameras

Product
Best for
Price
Video resolution
Field of view
Type
Smart home compatibility
Learn more
Best overall 1440p (2K) 122° Indoor/outdoor, battery and solar-poweredAlexa, Google
Best budget 1080p 360° horizontal
114° vertical
Indoor, wiredAlexa, Google
Best outdoor 1080p 140° Outdoor, battery-powered or wiredAlexa
Best indoor 1080p 130° Indoor/outdoor, battery-poweredGoogle
Best for smart home1440p (2K) 160° Indoor/outdoor, battery-poweredAlexa, Apple, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
Best doorbell 1080p155° Video doorbell, battery-poweredAlexa

Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Police advice on home security

NSW Police lists several recommendations for boosting home security, noting that criminals are often opportunists who target homes with lax security. We’ve replicated this advise below.

Securing your home:

  • Install quality security alarms, doors, lighting, locks, windows, and warning signs.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are secured.
  • Activate any alarms, security lighting, and smoke detectors.
  • Upgrade your alarm to a back-to-base monitored system.
  • Consider using cameras that allow for remote viewing.
  • Lock any garages, gates, and sheds.

Checking your home:

  • Ensure you have a clearly visible street number.
  • Trim any shrubs and trees to improve visibility.
  • Lock equipment such as gardening tools, ladders, and other tools out of sight.
  • Don’t store spare keys outside your home.
  • Keep keys, mobile devices, and valuables out of clear view.
  • Mark any valuable items and record details.

When you’re away from home:

  • Give the impression that someone is home with a timer-activated internal light or radio.
  • Have a trusted person—family, friend, or neighbour—collect garbage bins and mail, plus regularly check out your home. Also notify them of your travel plans.
  • Potentially redirect deliveries, mail, and newspapers.
  • Don’t advertise your travel plans on social media.

Other security considerations:

  • For any items of value, record all relevant details, including descriptions and serial numbers.
  • Avoid storing large quantities of money at home.
  • Ensure insurance is up to date and that it covers an appropriate amount to replace relevant home contents at today’s prices.

FAQ

Yes and no. Fake security cameras are better than no security solution but not as effective as real security cameras.
Easily visible blinking lights, cables, and swivelling cameras may all be signs of fakes. Use this knowledge to pick a fake security camera that looks and behaves in a more realistic fashion.

You can expect up to around six months of battery life out of a decent fake security camera. That said, if you’re going to this much effort for a fake security camera, it’s worth considering a real one.


Disclaimer
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence

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