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Cheap Trick: Are Fake Video Cameras Inexpensive Solutions or Lawsuits Waiting To Happen?

NCJ Number
Campus Safety Journal Volume: 10 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 16-17
Ron Lander
Date Published
September 2002
2 pages
This article examines the risks involved in using cheap fake video cameras as a deterrent to crime on school campuses.
Using fake video cameras as a cheap way to give the illusion of providing detection and deterrence poses the risk of a lawsuit by any individuals who may be victimized in areas purported to be monitored by the "dummy" cameras. The only situation in which the installation of a "dummy" camera might be acceptable is where a facility needs extensive video coverage and the budget will allow for only a limited number of cameras. In such a situation, a few fake cameras that match the others is acceptable. Under such conditions, however, there should be a written policy regarding the use of the fake cameras; the policy should specify that they be moved regularly and that the times and locations of the dummy cameras be continuously documented. Regarding modern video monitoring, the state-of-the-art digital system is called a dynamic video surveillance system (DVSS). With a DVSS, virtually anyone with a computer network connection can view video live or retrieve archived video. Also, others who previously did not have the capability of viewing video can "tune into" a surveillance system. This type of monitoring and video review can be achieved from anywhere on the campus or even anywhere in the world. Alarm verification, attendance tracking, marketing, and facilities management are just a few areas in which this new technology is being applied. The DVSS eliminates the problems of video-tape storage, video recorder breakdowns, and operators forgetting to change a tape or press the "record" button.