Is This Facility At Risk For Having A Sign 'Cameras In Use' But No Cameras?

I recently found myself at a building with these signs:

I was curious to see what cameras they were using, so I began looking. While I did look closely/carefully for cameras, it was rather easy to tell they do not have any cameras as the foundation/siding/trim/gutters/fixtures are all sprayed green. I circled the building twice and discovered that the extent of their security is outdoor lighting and five of these signs.

Have you been on a site survey / job site and seen anything like this? Share in the comments below.


Kuna?

No, the lights are not Kuna, and (one step ahead) they do not have a Ring doorbell either.

It can sound silly but several times in the same situation I tried to convince people that there are no cameras at site but people continue to insist that "they" have cameras and "they" see and record everything. Thus it works.

It's getting harder to know for sure. There is a new strip mall around the corner with expensive stores and high quality construction, but for the life of me I didn't see any parking lot cameras.

Looking closer at the new LED streetlights though they appear to be built-in...

Sure, sometimes it can be tricky to say. Because of this it works. Hollywood helps in this situation to believe in the advance of the technology.

I think maybe that signs alone are better than dummy cameras.

Because if you can spot the dummy you think you are in the clear; and even if you don't think it's a dummy, you'll avoid it's estimated FOV and look for uncovered areas.

But if you only see a sign but can't find the cameras, would you have the confidence (and the nerve) to risk missing a pin-hole camera and end up on one of those 'America's most dumbest criminals' shows?

Security camera signs without security cameras can lead to a lawsuit because they can give someone a false sense of security and if something happens to them or their vehicle,etc while on that businesses property 9 times out of 10 they'll be pursuing a lawsuit. I always recommend to my customers that if they dont have a security staff watching 24/7, to post signs stating that the cameras are being recorded for forensic/investigative purposes.

Chad, I agree with you about your recommendation to customers.

That said, on the 'false sense of security' point, we have not found evidence to support that. To the contrary, the court cases we have found repeatedly conclude that surveillance cameras do not provide security, unlike a lock, for instance. For more, see: Rape Under a Dummy Camera - Is This a True Story?

Hey John, I've not actually read of a particular case but have read much legal advice and was taught in many training classes about the possible liability an owner could face because mis-guided signs/dummy cameras, etc. could provide a false sense of security. Therefore, it will always be my recommendation to my clients to protect themselves by not allowing themselves to be accused of creating a "false sense of security".

Chad, you made a very strong claim to start: "while on that businesses property 9 times out of 10 they'll be pursuing a lawsuit." Then you admit you know of no cases nor evidently has any legal training shared such cases.

Shouldn't there be actual cases or law underlying legal recommendations? Otherwise, is this not basically fear mongering?

Absolutely not! Though i dont personally know of cases, I have heard of them and there is legal advice all over the internet discouraging the practice of using fake cameras and signs without cameras because the property owner could be held liable.

The "9 out of 10 times" statement I made is more indicative of the culture we live in today where unfortunately there are those people who look for reasons to sue someone for almost anything.

So no, reiterating legal advice to a customer is not fear mongering even i if dont hold evidence of such a case. And i'm not qualified to advise my customers against legal advice. Therefore, I would rather protect them and my company by advising them to take a few precautionary steps to "help" eliminate any unnecessary cause for a liability case. That is all.

reiterating legal advice to a customer is not fear mongering even i if dont hold evidence of such a case.

But shouldn't the legal advisers have real court cases to cite?

Look at Kirschenbaum, discussed below, who is a well known attorney specializing in the security industry. He admits:

"I haven't researched cases for this response, but I am sure there have been cases."

If this was so obviously true, why is it so hard for legal experts to share evidence to support their claim?

I am generally in favor of advising people to stay away from dummy cameras or false signage but if we are going to say it's a legal issue, there should be specific laws or court cases that can be cited.

I understand what you're saying, however, again i am not qualified to encourage my customers to ignore legal advice. I do plan to do some research on the subject for sure now if i can ever find time.

Sounds plausible, but there never actually seems to be a verifiable case of damages relating to camera signs giving a 'false sense of security'. Do you know of one?

No i dont actually know of one, i've heard of them but not verified. My reasoning can be found with my conversation with John under his response. Thanks!

There is a restaurant near me that is kind of upscale. They have "Property Under Surveillance" signs posted all over, but not a single camera to be found. I think most customers will assume there are cameras, but surveillance could mean something else.

Keefe,

How do you take Kirschenbaum seriously here?

He admits:

"I haven't researched cases for this response, but I am sure there have been cases."

What kind of attorney is that? And he is a specialist in legal issues for the security industry?

False cameras may or may not deter crime, but this really isn't an important point for the conversation we're having. There is actual security, and there is the illusion of security.

To boil it down, the main question floating around is whether or not posting signs is of benefit, assuming that no cameras are actually installed. I say no, not really.

First off, I think it's dishonest to say cameras are in use when they actually are not. Whether or not dishonestly posted signs are subject to litigation, I don't know and don't care.

If I were running on a low budget, I'd at least run a line or two to a self-installed camera. If I couldn't afford a functioning camera, I'd buy a broken/out of warranty quality/brand name camera and place it somewhere practical, realistic, and visible (I'm wary of seasoned criminals that know a real camera from a fake one).

I'd make no written or posted guarantee that security footage is being recorded (unless it actually is).

If I were running on a low budget, I'd at least run a line or two to a self-installed camera.

Max, I agree with that. Cameras are so inexpensive now that, even for an unethical personal, makes little sense to lie about it.

First off, I think it's dishonest to say cameras are in use when they actually are not.

I'd buy a broken/out of warranty quality/brand name camera and place it somewhere practical, realistic.

Interesting ethical distinction, dishonesty vs. deception.

"Hey, I only said they are in use, not that they are in order, so technically..."

So is it really being dishonest or deceptive when you lie to a thief? Just sayin!

lie to a thief?

The concern is more for customers, i.e., a customer goes to a business with the expectation of video surveillance being in place because the sign says so, something bad happens while on premise to the customer and the customer blames / gets upset because of the sign. We can debate the significance of such a sign but that's who the concern is over.

So is it really being dishonest or deceptive when you lie to a thief?

Some say yes, the Bible for instance, while chock full of valid reasons a man may be put to death, has no such exemptions for lying.

Anyway, how do you lie to only the theives?