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For Businesses, 'Dummy' Security Cameras May Pose Legal Risks

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

Security cameras are a great way to monitor, as well as prevent, misconduct by both customers and employees.

But for business owners looking to save some money, it might be tempting to install fake security cameras in their business, saving themselves the cost of expensive video equipment while still enjoying the preventative benefits of security cameras. After all, if people think they're being watched, they'll behave better, right?

The answer, as you may have guessed, is not necessarily. Furthermore, dummy cameras can potentially expose you to legal liability.

Dummy Cameras May Create 'False Sense of Security'

Fake cameras won't just trick would-be crooks. They may also trick your staff and customers into a false sense of security.

If a customer or staff member is attacked in a parking lot "secured" by a dummy camera, they may be able to argue in court that they relied on this false sense of security offered by the purported video surveillance in letting their guard down. This may lead to liability on the part of the business or property owner.

Fake Cameras May Still Be Prohibited in Some Areas

Generally, bathrooms are off limits for security cameras, whether inside a business or a public building. So what about installing a dummy camera in a bathroom to deter vandalism?

That was the rationale of a Florida middle school principal, who installed dummy security cameras in the bathrooms at her school to scare off graffiti artists. However, parents were outraged when they learned of the cameras, fake or not, and the America Civil Liberties Union considered filing suit against the school, reports the Palm Beach Post.

When it comes to fake cameras, the quick-install and cheap price may be tempting. But using dummy cameras in prohibited areas or in lieu of working video surveillance might end up making you the real dummy.

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