Posts Tagged ‘ Dummy Cameras ’

Is it a good idea to install “Dummy” Security Cameras?

Written By:
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Can I just install some pretend cameras and have all the security I need to ward off criminals?


You can. Why wouldn’t you want to install some cameras around your home or business just to make people think you have cameras? On the surface this seems logical and as a professional installer, I have to admit we have done this before. There is, on occasion, an area where it is absolutely impossible to get a power and/or video cable to certain locations. An additional reason is simply budget concerns.

To be clear this option should only be a last resort. There is only one reason to have a “dummy” cam. If you truly believe that only making people think cameras exist is enough to stop crime or negate activity around a certain area you may be mistaken. Granted, we have some of the highest quality cameras in the business and they don’t always stop crime, but what they do provide is an accurate piece of evidence. Preventing crime is not what cameras are designed for and not the best way to utilize them to their full potential.

If you are looking into security cameras to help prevent crime around your house then you may be skipping a step. The first start is securing your perimeter. Start by ensuring your doors and windows are locked, not only when you leave but also when you are home. Simply installing fences and locking gate access to your backyard will discourage a vast majority of normal criminals. Motion activate lights will can also help a tremendous amount at night.

Adding a fake camera into this mix will not provide more than a false sense of security and a bad piece of decorating. If things are secured properly you can’t really do more to actually stop a crime other than install a security system. This is a two part system, beginning with a high quality camera system to monitor the outside of your house as well as the inside. We have additional information in our CCTV forums regarding how to decide what cameras to use and where the ideal place to locate them so I won’t get into that now. My main point is just to enforce the need for the cameras and what to expect out of your system.

The camera layout outside should be focused on all points of entry and anything outside you want to view. Cars, boats, air conditioners, tool sheds, pool heaters and places your kids may play are items to think about outside. We also suggest cameras inside where possible. This is not to intrude on privacy but to capture some footage if someone does make it inside. This is where the second part of the equation comes in.

If someone gets into your house or is able to steal or damage property outside, a security camera system should only be able to have video footage of who they were and what they did. We also would like to point out that this is exactly what alarm systems with remote monitoring or remote notification is designed for. Actual notification that a door has been opened or a window has been broken is a huge tool in being able to notify law enforcement and have a response in a timely manner.

Alarm notification is a big part of security camera software also. We can set up our DVR or NVR to notify you when a camera detects motion. This can also be given certain days or times for this function to be active. We also have one of the most under-utilized tools in our software that allows for alarms to trigger certain actions in the DVR. We can optimize the settings so if a door sensor or window sensor on your alarm system is activated it will set off the alarm built in to the DVR. This can do a few tasks for you. It can be set so the DVR will send you an e-mail with a snapshot picture of where the door was opened. It can also trigger all cameras to record full time for an extended period of time.

The capability to link camera systems with alarm systems is a huge leap in securing and monitoring any activity around your house. However, as great as all this sounds, it may still not prevent all criminals, just slow them down. It’s a huge step away from just putting some fake cameras around your house but is the next logical step to actually preventing crime. If you and all of your neighbors start putting systems around your neighborhood I can guarantee most criminals will think twice before even trying one house in your area.

Hopefully this helps keep your eyes directed in the proper direction in regards to what you really need to protect your house. This is also the same logic in protecting your business. A few items of interest may change but the overall scope of what needs to be done remains the same. We need to protect all entry points and sensitive items in conjunction with good coverage inside of the business. Integrating this with a good security alarm system will protect your business.

There are a lot of additional ways to use a security alarm system such as remote monitoring and such just as there are numerous other ways to fully utilize a camera system. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg solely to point out what is actually capable and what is needed to have any effect on security. If you still feel like installing fake security cameras is all you need, we can help. Our sales department can assist you with that – 866-573-8878. I still suggest real cameras and real recording device and real alarms.


Business Security System

Written By:
Monday, April 30th, 2012

A Guide to Business Security Systems

Business Security SystemAny business must guard against loss due to theft. A century ago, business security primarily consisted of large locks and safes; however, systems are much more complex today. With the advent of ecommerce, business security now includes data encryption and backup. Security systems have progressed into the digital realm, but physical businesses still need to guard against physical threats. For companies with a physical location, there are three basic components to a business security system: access control, alarms and surveillance.

Access Control

Access control is the first line of defense in a business security system. It determines who is allowed access and who is not. The most basic form of access control, which everyone uses both at home and work, is the lock and key. Intruders are barred from entering by locks, while keys allow permitted personnel to pass through easily.

Access control has come a long way since the first key was created. Many businesses rely on digital keys today. The retina scanners FBI agents use in movies is typically beyond a standard business’ security needs. Yet, less sophisticated forms of digital keys are often used. Keys might contain computer chips. Many larger companies swipe card-shaped keys at doorways or enter codes on a keypad.

The mode and expense of access control used in any given business security system will depend upon that specific business’ needs. A small retail store might only need a lock. In contrast, a large corporation might use cards, which can be programmed for different levels of access. A larger company also might use keypads or cards to control parking, whereas a small store does not have that need.


No matter how secure a security system’s access control is, there are weak points. Alarms are for when those points are penetrated. They sound when someone gains entry to a place they should not be, thus alerting officials to the intruder, and inducing panic in the intruder. Alarms can be set up to detect burglars and vandals, or an employee who simply used the wrong exit after his shift.

The alarm component of a business security system is often its most extensive part. There are many different pieces and options available for alarms. Understanding the different configurations can help business owners compare different offers and select the best system for their companies. Here are the main elements of an alarm system:

• Control Panel

Every alarm system has a control panel. This is typically located on the roof or in a centrally-located closet. The control panel connects the alarm system on site with its monitoring service.

• Key Pad

Another essential component of an alarm system, key pads allow people onsite to control the alarm system. After being given the proper codes, employees can arm and disarm the system. Most configurations allow employees to secretly activate the alarm, in the event of an emergency.

• Door and Window Contacts

Door and window contacts are the devices used by an alarm system to detect whether an entry point is open or closed. These help employees make sure all the doors and windows are closed at the end of the day, and they will activate the alarm if anyone breaks in by opening a door or window.

• Glass Break Sensors

Door and window contacts are the most common method of detecting intruders, but they are useless against a burglar who enters by breaking a window. A window could be broken, and its contact could never be affected. However, a glass break sensor will detect the sound of breaking glass and activate the alarm. Since these sensors work by detecting sound waves, one can monitor many windows.

• Motion Detectors

Motion detectors are a final line of defense. If properly placed, they will detect anyone moving about inside a building. Almost all intruders will be detected by contacts or sensors. Motion detectors are primarily for anyone who might want to remain inside a building or room after close, then coming out when no one else is present.

• Sirens and Lights

If an alarm system is activated, it will alert the monitoring service. The monitoring service will then alert local authorities, who will Business Security Systemrespond to the call. In the meantime, which might be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, sirens and strobe lights can be used to alert anyone nearby. Sirens and strobe lights are meant to induce panic into any intruder and alert anyone in the vicinity to the potential danger.

The above list contains the components that are standard in most alarm systems. The selections listed below are optional. They will increase the cost of an alarm system, but they also provide additional security. Depending upon a given business’ security needs, these might be wise selections or superfluous expenses.

• Backup System

Alarm systems communicate with their respective monitoring services via a phone line, and intruders often attempt to sever communication by cutting the phone line. If the phone line is cut, a basic alarm system is rendered useless, aside from any sirens or lights. To guard against this, many businesses opt to have a backup system of communication. This can be via a cable line, but using cell phone towers is more common. A cellular connection cannot be cut, so these are the most secure backup systems.

• Two-Way Keypads

Once activated, a basic keypad simply alerts the monitoring service, which then sends the responding local authorities. Two-way keypads, however, allow the monitoring service to communicate directly with people on site. This allows the monitoring service to determine if there is an emergency, or if the alarm was triggered accidently. They also can clarify the nature of the emergency and send the appropriate responders.

• Log

A log of when the alarm was armed and disarmed can help business owners and managers monitor illicit employee actions. Logs often include who performed the action, as well as the date and time the action was performed. Business owners can also select an option that will notify a supervisor if the alarm is not armed.


Surveillance is the final component of any business security system. A surveillance system is a configuration of video cameras and recorders, which together monitor the activities that take place. Surveillance systems can be as simple as a single camera, or they can contain many cameras that are actively monitored by staff. There are several aspects of a surveillance system business owners must consider, before selecting cameras and recorders.

• Large Cameras

Large cameras are primarily used to deter theft and vandalism. They are often prominently placed, so people see them. When burglars and vandals see these cameras, they will reconsider their actions. When innocent people notice these large cameras, they will feel more secure.

• Dummy Cameras

Dummy cameras serve the same purpose as large cameras: they deter theft and vandalism, while increasing the sense of security. However, these cameras do not actually record. They are merely props. Some businesses add these to their security system, because they provide an inexpensive method of increasing security slightly.

• Small Cameras

Small cameras are usually placed in inconspicuous places. They are less noticeable, and often have a dome that prevents people from knowing which way the camera is pointing. These are primarily used for evidence after a vandalism or theft. If they are intended for this purpose, business owners must make sure they can provide a high quality picture.

• Image Quality

Several factors influence the quality of a camera’s image. Is a color image needed, or is a grayscale picture acceptable? Will the camera be recording only in a lit area, or does it need to function at night? Is a high resolution needed for zooming, or are broad, low-resolution images adequate? The purpose of the camera will determine the quality of the image that is required.

• Recorder Location

Most businesses have their surveillance system’s recordings kept on site. They are typically stored in a safe-like device, which prevents people from stealing the recordings. Yet, large corporations might want to keep their recordings in a central office. This can help centralize a security system.

• Fixed or Flexible

Depending upon a camera’s location and purpose, a business security system might need a fixed camera or a flexible one. Fixed cameras can only view a specific area. These are typically larger cameras. Smaller cameras, which are used for evidence gathering, however, are often flexible. That is, these cameras can zoom, pan and tilt. In a monitored system, these offer more control and surveillance.

• Monitored

Some businesses choose a monitored system, while others view this as an unnecessary expense. Monitored systems cost more, because a watchman must be paid to monitor the cameras. However, this provides a higher level of security. Monitored systems are primarily used with non-fixed cameras, so the guard can pan and zoom.

After considering all of the components and aspects of a business surveillance system, business owners and managers will be ready to select the configuration that best meets their needs and budget. A security system can be used to provide safety, deter theft and meet insurance requirements. The best business security system will provide access control, have an alarm system and monitor people via a surveillance system.