What does it take to make you feel safe and secure? Surveillance cameras? Security systems or alarms? There are plenty of products on the market designed to do just that. They make you feel safe. Some of these work great, others not so much. Some of them even appear to work, offering the illusion of security, even if they are not functional. If a home or business appears to be protected or looks like it would be too much trouble, many criminals may seek out an easier target.
Just like personal self-defense 101: Project a confident demeanor and look alert. Appear to be a hard target and a less motivated assailant may look for someone that seems easier. Basic security 101: Have a flashing red LED on the security camera prominently displayed, or a visible security keypad hinting at an alarm, and you should be fine. Right? Many would-be burglars will think twice about having to deal with the nuisance of a security system. Everything is fine, as long as no one knows if the security devices are fake. Right?
There are several different fake security cameras or other deceptive security devices that give the impression of a fully functional system. They are easier to install, have almost zero maintenance, and are of course cheaper to buy. As long as they look realistic enough, most of the time they serve as a great deterrent. That is until someone in the know slips up, and lets the cat out of the bag. Exposing his secret to the audience is the worst thing a magician can do. The illusion is now over. Let me explain three well-intentioned real-world examples that became poor security practices.
"He's Not Here" Security Systems
First, I used to work at a family-run grocery/restaurant supply store when I was 18. One night right before closing I was talking to the cashier, and she pocketed $20 right in front of the security camera. I glanced up at the camera, then raised my eyebrow at the girl. She promptly said, “It’s OK, he’s not here.” I didn’t quite follow and she continued, “The owner only watches things now and then when he is in his office. It isn’t hooked up to any tape recorder.” She probably skimmed off the register regularly.
One camera, two camera, three camera, four...
Next, we have a mom-and-pop convenience store in a questionable neighborhood. The older owner had a few instances of random vandalism and theft. Fed up, he decided to do something about it. He figured it would be cheaper to just buy a fake security camera after a quote for a full video surveillance and recording system was too expensive. He purchased a realistic-looking camera and mounted it to the ceiling. All it needed was a 9-volt battery to make the red LED light flash to complete the illusion of a real functional system.
But then he made one grave mistake. Enticed by the low price, he decided to buy more cameras. The more cameras, the more secure his store would appear. Right? No. He purchased and installed 19 more fake security cameras inside and outside of his small convenience store for under $200. His new “security system” screamed fake. The overabundance of flashing cameras did nothing to deter the troublemakers from causing the same havoc as before. Especially as they did nothing to gather the identity of the people or any evidence of the crimes.
Beep, beep, beep.
Another well-intentioned, but poorly carried out example was a small, but lucrative medical practice. This location could have easily afforded a pretty decent security system. Which is exactly what it looked like they had installed.
One morning I had an 8:30 a.m. appointment, as soon as they opened. Always being early, I showed up at 8:15 a.m. I assumed someone would be there earlier than my scheduled appointment. But I was wrong, and the door was still locked when I got there. I could see a security keypad just inside the locked glass door, fully equipped with a flashing red LED. About 5 minutes later another patient arrived early, so we both waited outside of the locked door.
Finally, at 8:35 a.m., the receptionist arrives and apologizes for running late. In a rush, she unlocks the outside door, and the alarm system started to beep the warning sequence. I figured she had standard 30-60 seconds to enter the code before the alarm goes off. Ignoring the beeping, the receptionist sets down her bag and coffee and struggles to unlock the inner door. The other guy jokingly smiles and says, “Hey, You better hurry up, the police are coming.” “Oh, Don’t worry” the receptionist replies, “The alarm isn’t hooked up to anything!” she says laughing. Shaking my head, I just stood there wondering how many other people knew this secret. I bet the owner doesn’t know his security illusion is up.
What’s the moral of all of these stories? Buy the real product and don’t settle on illusions? No, not necessarily. Even the dummy security cameras are useful to some extent. Just make sure that your secret magic tricks are kept just that, secret. As long as your illusions are believable, no one will know the difference. Your secret will be safe, as well as your home or business.
We have several affordable All-in-One Cameras, Dummy Cameras, Hidden Cameras, and home alarm products to meet all of your needs. Whether you want a couple (couple!) of Dummy Cameras with Flashing LEDs for $11.86, an 1080P HD Fish Eye Camera with Wi-Fi and DVR for $49.26, or even a Barking Dog Alarm for $67.96, we got you covered.
Stay safe and be prepared!