Jerry, Other/Just Looking in South Beach, San Fra...

Can fake security cameras be used as part of a condo security system?

Asked by Jerry, South Beach, San Francisco, CA Tue Jun 10, 2008

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I would suggest you think this over long and hard before implementing! In my previous life I was a licensed private investigator and security system specialist. As appealing as this inexpensive alternative to true security system may seem, it could expose your condo association to a huge potential liability.

An office building in California installed multiple false security cameras in their parking structure to deter crime. One evening after normal working hours a woman was assauled in the garage, to her credit she fought with the perp until she came to be in front of a "security" camera where she expected someone to come to her aid. She was brutally raped and assualted, as the camera was nothing more than a housing & an uplugged, aged camera. She was awarded in excess of $1M in the following civil trial.

For this type of need, speak with a security specialist to explain the costs, benefits, and cons of any system, and not the opinion of realtors. I would suggest a motion activated camera that is feeding to a DVR with a 10-14 day storage capacity. That way, if there is a problem, you may capture the incident on a digital format, but not incur the cost of 24/7 monitoring.

Best of luck,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 15, 2008
Dear Jerry,

Anything can be used as long as the Homeowner's Association agrees to it. Fake security cameras are not a great idea, but, I would suppose better than nothing. If you are living in the complex, you can bring up your concerns to the HOA at the next meeting....which I would suggest you do. (Please keep in mind real camera systems can be quite costly. And you need to think about who will watch them on a 24/7 basis.)

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
I can see the appeal for installing fake security cameras instead of getting a real security system because it would be cheaper and some crime can be deterred just by the look of having security. However, AJ brought up some really good points where you might want to get a real system, especially if there are things other than just theft or vandalism happening on your property. It's more expensive, but I think worth the investment to keep your tenants safe.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 30, 2015
It could serve a good purpose. It's more cost efficient than having actual cameras, and it will be effective against the same type of crime. I think you should make sure that all of the people in your condo understand what you're doing though. If they think the cameras are real, there could be a lot of confusion that really isn't necessary. It could be a great idea, you just need to be sure that it's well thought out.…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2015
I would definitely recommend getting security cameras if you're planning on being there long. They can prevent a lot of problems, and I think you'll be grateful for them in the long run. You'll be able to sleep a little better at night knowing you're more protected.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 12, 2015
Sure they can and it does act as a deterrant. As long as they look realistic and not like proptronics.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 15, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
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