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Destroy the Security Camera

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This trope is when a character shoots or otherwise destroys a security camera. This is done to prevent guards, the police, or homeowners either from watching their activities or from detecting them in the first place.

This is often done by shooting the camera, but other versions exist, like cutting a wire or painting over the lens.

A common piece of Fridge Logic that stems from this trope is the assumption that once a camera is out of commission, it can't raise suspicion. In reality, a guard is at least as likely to notice a blanked-out screen as a video of someone acting suspiciously. On the other hand, this can be justified if the goal is to prevent incriminating recording (though footage would still have been recorded up to the moment the camera was destroyed) or at least to prevent the cameras from getting real-time updates on the situation.

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Not to Be Confused with Camera Abuse. If done to prevent detection in the first place, this usually involves an Insecurity Camera, as proper security setups should have multiple cameras covering one another's blind spots. Can overlap with Computer Equals Monitor, for when someone destroys the output end of a security system to try to disable it. Contrast with Camera Spoofing, when the security camera is manipulated such that a inconspicuous static image or looped recording of its view is shown to whoever is on the other end.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • A commercial for Little Caesar's was shot from a security camera and shows the customers obscuring the camera when they discover their pizzas cost less than they thought. (In other words, they think they're stealing.) One spray paints over the camera (followed by an employee cleaning it off), another hits the lens with a wad of gum (followed by the employee pulling it off), another hits it with a suction cup dart (the employee pulls that off too), and the last redirects the camera to the parking lot (the employee corrects it).

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the anime adaptation of Black Cat, Train Heartnet as Chronos XIII shoots down several security cameras in Torneo Rudman's complex at blinding speed while simultaneously checking each room for his target; the living bioweapon Eve. His feat manages to cause mass panic among Torneo's lackeys as each surveillance monitor is reduced to static one-by-one, which ultimately leads to the last camera in Eve's room being shot down as well. As a subversion, the last camera is shot down by Sven Vollfied, who uses his Combat Clairvoyance eye to beat Train to the punch.
  • In Promare, Lio, Galo, and Aina watch old security camera footage of Kray murdering Dr. Prometh by shooting him in the head. He then slowly turns to the viewers and fires another shot, causing the feed to go dead. It's unknown exactly what he hoped to achieve by doing this, given that he shot the camera after he was filmed committing murder, and the recording was clearly never erased.
  • In Sadamoto's Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, Asuka destroys with a kick the security camera in the apartment she and Shinji have been assigned, so that Misato and Kaji can no longer watch them as they practice the synchronized dance routine needed to defeat Israfel's twin bodies. This helps them relax, focus, and finally get the routine right.
  • Sonic X: Tails' paper-airplane circuits blow up the cameras at the government base where Cream is being held. Elsewhere, Sonic gets on top of one and uses its onboard laser-gun to knock several others out.
  • Sailor Moon: Ami/Sailor Mercury does this to a camera she notices when she's investigating Mugen Academy in the Infinity Arc of the manga, by throwing a pen at it like a dart.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: Pian suggests attacking the security camera on the ceiling to stop Rubika, the prison ship's defense system, from tracking Mechamato. Doing so temporarily disorients and blinds Rubika, but he can still feel around to find Mechamato and attack him.

    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers (Marvel): In Issue #13 ("Shooting Star"), a damaged, mindless Megatron is found by Joey Slick, a small-time crook, who uses him in gun mode to go on a crime spree. When Joey robs a bank, he orders Megatron to take out the security cameras first.

    Fan Works 
  • The Second Try: Asuka destroys the security camera in Shinji's hospital room so nobody can see them kissing.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Oliver & Company, when Fagin's dogs sneak into Mr. Sykes' warehouse to rescue Jenny and Oliver, they get spotted by one of Sykes' security cameras. Tito chews the wires to shut off the camera but gets comically electrocuted as a result.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Animal Wrongs Group activists who infiltrate the research lab at the beginning of 28 Days Later are shown spraying the security cameras on their way in.
  • Batman Forever: Edward Nygma does this. "WHY HASN'T ANYBODY...put you in your place?"
  • Cain Hill: As Chester moves about the asylum, he smashes the security cameras.
  • Captain America: Civil War: In the footage taken of the Winter Soldier's covert assassination while in America, he concludes by shooting the camera that spotted him killing.
  • Clown Kill: While Colin and George are watching Jenny while she's excersizing in the office gym, the camera feed suddenly gets disturbed. Later, when they're investigating in the gym, they discover the security camera on the floor with a paper plate with vanilla on it.
  • Danger!! Death Ray: Near the climax, there is a scene where the protagonist destroys several security cameras. When the episode was featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000, this was used as the setup for a joke where Cambot (who is a camera-robot) feels sorry for the poor security camera's and weeps at their demise (signified by a watery effect over the camera lens).
  • Die Another Day subverts the trope: Bond finds a security camera, moves next to it, and simply unplugs it.
  • In Dog Day Afternoon, Sonny tries to blind the bank's security cameras with spray paint, but he's too short to reach the lenses. He has to stand on a chair to get to them.
  • Dredd: Dredd does this when he and Anderson are "trapped" in a section of the Peach Trees block as a warning to Ma-Ma.
  • Entrapment: Mac destroys a security camera, before taking Gin into a room filled with gas, so the security patrol will think they try to avoid the gas-filled room.
  • The 2009 RSC version of Hamlet sees Hamlet rip a security camera out of the wall before engaging in a monologue. "At last, I'm alone."
  • Hard Boiled: Right before breaking out of Johnny's weapons vault, the first thing Tequila Yuen did to intimidate Johnny is to blast the security camera in the vault with his shotgun. In a later scene, the infamous long take shootout against Johnny's men, Tequila shoots another security camera after shooting a mook, this time via silenced pistol.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Nick employs the local schoolchildren to paint over the town's cameras for his return to Sandford so the Watch won't spot him until he's well into town.
  • Inside Man: The bank robbers disable the security cameras inside the bank by firing lasers at them to overload the digital recording chips.
  • Quick Change. During the bank robbery he performs at the beginning of the movie, Grimm shoots out one of the security cameras inside the bank so it can't record his secret actions to trick the police.
  • Raw Deal: Before the final shootout, Mark uses his shotgun to blast both surveillance cameras outside Petrovita's penthouse, all which were seen on video footage. This is so they won't see him enter the Air-Vent Passageway instead of the Empty Elevator.
  • At the beginning of Serenity the crew is robbing a bank and there's a brief shot of Zoe shooting a security camera as they walk in guns drawn.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope shows Luke, Han and Chewie pull the old Trojan Prisoner trick to get into the detention block, seeking to free the Princess. While Han and Luke focus on taking out the Imperial mooks, Chewie makes a point of obliterating the many cameras and sensors. He's so thorough that an officer has to ask about their status over an intercom.
  • Stone Cold opens with this trope. A CCTV POV pans across a supermarket until a grinning robber with a shotgun pops up into view and blasts it.
  • Taxi (2004): One scene shows the team of female robbers doing this to a security camera when they attack and rob a bank.
  • These Are the Damned. Nine children are being kept in a secret underground facility under constant surveillance. After refusing to hand over the 'big people' who have entered the facility from the outside, the normally well-behaved children smash or obscure the cameras as an act of defiance, and the Big Bad is forced to send in soldiers whom he can't guide using the cameras, causing one of them to get shot.
  • TRON: Legacy: Downplayed. When Sam Flynn is infiltrating the ENCOM headquarters, he uses a laser pointer to blind a security camera. However, the security guard watching the screens simply taps his screen with his mug to get it working again.
  • Wonder Woman 1984: While trying to capture a bunch of crooks trying to rob one of the stores in a mall, Diana takes out several security cameras with her tiara to uphold her anonymity.
  • X2: X-Men United: Stryker yells for his team to "take out these cameras!" after Mystique gets into his control room and turns them against him.

    Literature 
  • InCryptid: It's an actual broadcast television camera, rather than a security camera, but it serves the same purpose. Verity Price shoots it so the Covenant can't easily get a bead on her current location since she's on their list of traitors and currently in a spot full of the cryptids the Covenant hunts and kills. Trouble is it had been a live feed over the air to North America at least.
  • Into the Drowning Deep: Tory catches sight of a mermaid on the Melusine's underwater cameras and tries to follow it, only for it to examine and furiously destroy the camera — early confirmation that they're intelligent and hostile.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 - in The Wheel Of Fire, when Garabaldi goes to talk to Lyta, he offers to have the discussion moved to a room without an observing camera. She then uses her Touched by Vorlons ability to destroy said camera in her holding cell.
    Lyta: What camera?
  • Better Call Saul: When Werner escapes the warehouse he and his workers are required to stay in, Mike finds a laser pointer on the ground outside, and deduces Werner used it to fry several security cameras to cover his tracks.
  • Burn Notice: In "Wanted Man", Sam shoots out a couple bank security cameras as part of setting up the Villain of the Week so it looks like he's trying to rob the bank.
  • Chuck: The first episode ends with Chuck having a flash on Sarah that shows her fighting off a group of people before shooting the video camera recording her.
  • Doctor Who
    • In "The Sound of Drums", after the Doctor realizes that the Master is watching him, Martha and Captain Jack over a nearby CCTV camera, he blows it out with his sonic screwdriver, causing the Master to retort "Ooh, you... public menace!"
    • In "Resolution", the Doctor tries tracking the Villain of the Week through the CCTV system. Cut to the villain zapping the junction box with a Ray Gun, knocking out all the cameras in the area.
  • On Leverage, they normally have Hardison disable cameras electronically, but sometimes it's faster for Eliot to deal with it physically.
  • A variation occurs in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale." Sharona goes undercover as Dale "the Whale" Biederbeck's night nurse and hangs towels over his security cameras before snooping around. Downplayed as Biederbeck knows that she's hunting for evidence, but is too smug about his own genius to think it's a problem.
  • Person of Interest: Root shoots out a surveillance camera, seen from Samaritan's point of view as it goes through her many aliases in an attempt to identify her. Since Samaritan sees through every surveillance camera on the planet, this would have no practical effect. It was mainly just for the Catharsis Factor.
    Root: You can call me Root, bitch.
  • The commentators on World's Dumbest... frequently mock the criminals who fail to notice — much less do anything about — the cameras that film their crimes. On one notable instance, however, a criminal did take out the camera — though said "criminal" was just a toddler escaping from his crib. Brad Loekle pointed out how this little child was smarter than all the grown-up criminals featured on the show.
    Brad: Even the toddler knows to take out the security camera. What's wrong with the rest of these people?

    Video Games 
  • The Grunty Industries level in Banjo-Tooie has several rooms where floating security bots will be summoned if you are spotted by the nearby cameras. To prevent this, you can destroy the cameras with eggs to give yourself a window to navigate the rooms freely before the cameras respawn.
  • One of the alternate missions in Batman: Arkham City is to destroy all the TYGER security cameras of Arkham City.
  • You can do this in BioShock to prevent cameras from sending hostile Attack Drones after you. Or you can hack the camera to make it target enemies instead.
  • Dark Escape 4D: Throughout the journey through the complex, you'll see video cameras on the walls. They seem like just part of the scenery, but they actually serve a gameplay purpose if you shoot them. As the number of cameras shot dictates how fast the Final Boss's final attack will go which you must deflect if you want the good ending. If you got enough, the attack will come slow being easy enough to shoot away. But didn't get enough and it'll come so fast that you're guaranteed to take a hit and get the bad ending. If that wasn't enough, the game rubs this fact in your face afterward to encourage you to try again.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Big Bro security cameras can be temporarily disabled with a shot from a stun gun or an electromagnetic pulse, but actually shooting them will instantly raise the alarm.
  • The first Duke Nukem by Apogee was a side-scroller shoot-'em-up of Duke running around the lairs of Doctor Proton, shooting everything that moves. Some shootable targets are security cameras suspended from the ceiling, that track Duke as he moves; each camera Duke zaps is worth 100 points. Doc Proton appears on a video screen in the first level, taunting Duke that he'll be tracking his every move.
  • Everything or Nothing: In "A Simple Exchange," Bond can either shoot at the cameras or hurl EMP-grenade coins at them. Something of a false choice—shooting them will alert the guards.
  • The Nintendo 64 GoldenEye game will have you doing this quite a bit as if you're spotted on a security camera, the alarm will sound and everybody and their brother is going to be after you.
  • In the Hitman series, shooting security cameras is one option available for disabling them. Less so on Professional difficulty, where doing this will cause the nearest few guards to come investigate the sudden failure, already suspicious of everyone nearby. The fourth entry Blood Money introduced a mechanic wherein the player character can retrieve the tape from the security office rather than destroying the cameras themselves.
  • In Invisible, Inc., it is possible to disable security cameras by shooting them, but it's usually better to disable them by electronic means because bullets are hard to come by (Ventilation systems have sensors that can smell traces of gunpowder, and most weapons are gene-coded to their owner, so your agents can only use specially manufactured weapons).
  • The Joy of Creation: Reborn: Like most Five Nights at Freddy's fangames, you have access to security cameras in the Office level.. Unlike most fangames, however, you risk having those cameras punched out by Ignited Bonnie if you stare at him for too long.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, when Xemnas comes to visit Aqua's armor and Keyblade in a secret room of Hollow Bastion's castle, he blasts a camera that spots him putting in the password to the room.
  • In Mass Effect 2, part of Joker's rebellion against having to co-pilot the Normandy with an AI involves smothering EDI's security cameras with grease so that all her footage (in his words) "looks like a dream sequence."
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has security cameras mounted on guns that start firing at you once you're spotted. Raiden can use his weapons to destroy them.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, cameras can be shot out with non-tranquilizer guns (although this will set off the alarm anyway unless the player has a suppressor), or disabled with chaff to avoid them causing an alert if Snake moves into their field of view.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes was the first game to have guards react to a downed security camera, where shooting one out will result in the enemy's Mission Control sending guards to investigate. However, the camera will remain down and the guards will soon leave, as they lack the ability to fix it and the manpower to leave a sentry near where the camera was.
  • Metal Slug, from the third game onwards, have security cameras equipped with sub-machine guns installed in certain rebel facilities. They will shoot at the player automatically, but can be easily destroyed even with the pistol.
  • Defied in No One Lives Forever as it's pointed out that shooting out a security camera to avoid being noticed will have the opposite result: the guards will investigate the shot-out camera and possibly be on high alert. Played straight in the sequel as Cate will be given a gun-like device that shoots special bullets, one of which is a camera jammer of the type that records and plays back footage on a loop.
  • Possible in PAYDAY 2. Destroying a security camera will prevent it from spotting any heisters or other suspicious activities, but in some cases, the camera operator will send a guard to check the area. Titan cameras on higher difficulty levels defy this with a damage-proof shield.
    • Proper heisters subvert this by shooting the guy who watches the cameras.
  • Portal: Security cameras can be detached from some walls by putting portals behind them. This does not hide you from GLaDOS, and in fact she will immediately comment on it, telling you not to destroy vital testing apparatus. There is an achievement for destroying every camera that it's possible to destroy.
  • Splinter Cell: Played straight and subverted simultaneously. The enemy locations frequently deploy security cameras to sound an alarm if Sam is spotted, and most of them can be destroyed with a single shot; however, during the training mission and some later missions, cameras with bulletproof armour will be deployed, which can only either be avoided, or have the lights shot out to make it too dark for Sam to be seen. Both types of camera can be temporarily paralyzed by Sam's camera jammer gadget in later levers, however.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Republic Smuggler mission "Due Process" and the bonus objective for the Imperial Agent mission "The New Truth" both require shooting out local security cameras.
  • One of the mechanics in System Shock is destroying the cameras on Citadel Station to stave off SHODAN's Sinister Surveillance, resulting in the security levels lowering and more areas unlocking. This would become a staple of the series, appearing again in the sequel System Shock 2, and even in their Spiritual Successors like the aforementioned Bioshock.
  • TimeSplitters 2: In the first level, Siberia, you can shoot the security cameras to disable them so you don't get detected and sound the alarm. There's also a control station that can turn some of them off.
  • Unfortunate Spacemen: There are security cameras strewn about the stages. The alien can destroy them to make it harder for the spacemen to track its movements.
  • Warframe: Corpus security cameras, if they see the player, will often trigger laser barriers, leading the player to need to shoot it out to disable said barrier. It's advised during Spy Missions to do this trope, because if the player gets caught by one it'll trigger the destruction of the data, necessitating a fast recovery of said data before deletion completes (In a sortie, data deletion is mission failure).
  • The first level of the video game of The World Is Not Enough have James Bond attempting to track down the informant, LaChaise, in LaChaise's penthouse. But the penthouse is only accessible via an elevator on the second floor, which has security cameras that can raise alarms upon locating Bond. Those security cameras (five of them) can be shot and destroyed, but failing to prevent the alarm from ringing will have Bond being cornered by guards and forced into a gunfight. Destroying all five cameras without being spotted even once nets Bond a better score by the end of the level.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Chapter 5 of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Kokichi uses one of Miu's EMP bombs to shut down all the electronics nearby, including the nanobots filming everything that the Mastermind uses to keep tabs on everyone, to deliberately obfuscate who the culprit and victim are so not even Monokuma will know, nullifying the game. It doesn't work.

    Webcomics 
  • Schlock Mercenary: A boarding party teleports between enemy lines and starts shooting out the many, many security cameras to hide their approach from the terrorists in the command center. One of the terrorists immediately recognizes the pattern; the other...
    Tro: And there goes the 100-meter camera along the same approach. And now the 75 is gone. Oops! And the 50! This is annoying. We won't know if anyone is sneaking up on us.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Abraham magically destroys the security cameras in the area before emerging from his statue.

    Western Animation 
  • In Amphibia "Fight At The Museum", Sprig does this with his tongue to take out the museum cameras. Unfortunately, one of the cameras does end up catching a glimpse of his face before he smashes it, drawing the attention of the robot assassin that is searching the city using the nearby radio tower's signals.
  • In Danny Phantom episode "Eye For An Eye", just before Danny goes ghost to confront Vlad, Sam points out a security camera watching. Tucker, having had his geek gear confiscated due to Vlad's new laws, takes care of it by ripping the camera out of the wall.
    Tucker: (To Danny) Go for it, Danny! (Cozying up to the disabled camera) Hello, new special friend.
  • Johnny Test: in the "Johnny Escape From Bling-Bling Island", Bling-Bling does this when he realizes there is a video camera recording him breaking into the lab and stealing Susan's shoes.
  • South Park: When Cartman takes a hostage, a baby, and a gun into his bathroom, he sprays the security camera (as all bathrooms have been fitted with security cams to prevent people from dying on the toilet) with black paint.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Lair of Grievous": Kit Fisto stabs a holo-camera with his lightsaber while he knows Grievous is watching him through it, ticking the cyborg General off.
    • "The Citadel": After Anakin and Obi-Wan's strike team escapes a magnetized trap that briefly disarmed them, prison warden Osi Sobeck is already furious, but he takes it personally when Captain Rex goes out of his way to shoot out the security camera Sobeck was using to watch events as the group is heading off.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Kevin does this to the hidden camera that Ed placed to spy on him. Problem is, the camera was hidden right outside his front door with a stick taped to it as camouflage.
    Eddy: Where did you hide the camera?!
    Ed: (menacingly waves the coathanger used as a hook-hand) Only the Claw knows!
  • Teen Titans: Downplayed in the second half of the "Aftershock" two-parter, where when Beast Boy is breaking into Slade's lair, he turns into a mouse and disables a security camera by unplugging a cable.

    Real Life 
  • There is a vigilante group in Holland dedicated to destroying speed cameras erected at the roadside. A legitimate criticism of such cameras is that their primary purpose is not road safety or driver education re speed: that a device that clearly photographs number plates, and can follow this through with a fine via the driver's letter box, is just another way to tax road users. In Holland, protest groups have set up to find clandestine and creative ways to destroy the cameras, or at the very least to render them unusable. Gambits have included squirting expanding insulating foam inside the works, or deliberately sabotaging the shutter mechanisms with superglue. When all else fails, use of angle-grinders to cut the poles and bring them crashing down has been tried. Cameras have been left undamaged, but deliberately turned to face away from the road and into bushes where they might photograph speeding birds. This form of protest began in the Netherlands and has spread to Germany, France, Britain, and the USA.
  • There's a Stupid Crooks story about a thief who planned to break into a place but noticed a pair of security cameras watching the target. So, he took a ladder and tools, climbed up, and unscrewed the connections. What makes this a Stupid Crooks story is that he worked on the cameras while looking right into them, giving the security guards a very helpful closeup.
  • During the protests in Hong Kong (against the planned extradition bill), many pro-democrat protestors took to destroying surveillance cameras in Hong Kong Island in order to avoid being recorded and later on, arrested by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies.

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