Recent Theft and Elder Abuse Cases Cause Renewed Interest in “Granny Cams”

elder-abuse-granny-camsUnconscionable acts of theft and violence have recently targeted senior citizens, causing a surge in the use of so-called “granny cams”hidden cameras designed to monitor caregivers.

In the past week, an elder abuse case that sparked outrage in Adelaide, Australia regained national attention when it was revealed that the care facility housing the victim received full marks in a government review.

The case, which first broke in 2015, involved a caregiver apparently attempting to suffocate an 89-year-old patient, all caught on a hidden camera planted by the patient’s daughter. When the footage was revealed, numerous other residents with family members in assisted living facilities called on authorities to allow surveillance devices in patient rooms to combat potential abuse.

In the United States, a home caregiver in Loganville, Ga. was recently caught on a hidden camera kicking a 69-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman and then strangling her with her own shirt.

Were saddened and disgusted that someone who is tasked with, essentially, giving care to the most vulnerable people in our society, would use that as an opportunity to attack them, said Gwinnett County Police Corporal Deon Washington.

In both cases the hidden cameras were planted after the patients’ children noticed signs of abuse with their parents.

While physical abuse cases remain the most heart-wrenching, a rash of theft cases involving caregivers has also affected Ohio assisted living facilities in recent months. Columbus’ WBNS estimates that the number of thefts from senior residents has doubled over the past two years.

In a series of sting operations using hidden cameras championed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, caregivers were discovered stealing Fentanyl and painkiller patches, Walmart gift cards, cash and, in one instance, a wedding ring worn by an elderly patient for 56 years.

DeWine says the use of hidden cameras, as long as they’re deployed with the permission of a patient, can be an incredible tool to combat theft and abuse.

Having a camera in a nursing home can give you information, that frankly, there’s no other way to get it,” he says.

Granny cams” come in many sizes and form factors that can fit into the decor of any room. Past BrickHouse Security customers have used covert recorders such as the Camscura Micro to document abuse and bring abusive caregivers to justice.

Image by Sima Dimitric, licensed under Creative Commons

About the author  ⁄ Erik Helin

Erik is BrickHouse Security's copy chief. Hailing from the Midwest (Wisconsin), Erik moved to NYC in 2010, securing a job at BrickHouse shortly thereafter. Outside of work he writes about music, does freelance advertising work, and wastes his life on the internet. Aside from no-brainers like cheese and beer, Erik enjoys music, travel, TV, his cat, and Brooklyn.