The world’s most-surveilled cities – China, US, UK, UAE, Australia and India: you are being spied on!

Cities in China are under the heaviest CCTV surveillance in the world, according to a new analysis by Comparitech. However, some residents living in cities across the US, UK, UAE, Australia, and India will also find themselves surrounded by a large number of watchful eyes, as our look at the number of public CCTV cameras in 120 cities worldwide found.

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Depending on whom you ask, the increased prevalence and capabilities of CCTV surveillance could make society safer and more efficient, could trample on our rights to privacy and freedom of movement, or both. No matter which side you argue, the fact is that live video surveillance is ramping up worldwide.

Comparitech researchers collated a number of data resources and reports, including government reports, police websites, and news articles, to get some idea of the number of CCTV cameras in use in 120 major cities across the globe. We focused primarily on public CCTV—cameras used by government entities such as law enforcement.

Here are our key findings:

  • Eight out of the top 10 most-surveilled cities are in China
  • London and Atlanta were the only cities outside of China to make the top 10
  • By 2022, China is projected to have one public CCTV camera for every two people
  • We found little correlation between the number of public CCTV cameras and crime or safety

The 20 most-surveilled cities in the world

Based on the number of cameras per 1,000 people, these cities are the top 20 most surveilled in the world:

  1. Chongqing, China – 2,579,890 cameras for 15,354,067 people = 168.03 cameras per 1,000 people
  2. Shenzhen, China – 1,929,600 cameras for 12,128,721 people = 159.09 cameras per 1,000 people
  3. Shanghai, China – 2,985,984 cameras for 26,317,104 people = 113.46 cameras per 1,000 people
  4. Tianjin, China – 1,244,160 cameras for 13,396,402 people = 92.87 cameras per 1,000 people
  5. Ji’nan, China – 540,463 cameras for 7,321,200 people = 73.82 cameras per 1,000 people
  6. London, England (UK) – 627,707 cameras for 9,176,530 people = 68.40 cameras per 1,000 people
  7. Wuhan, China – 500,000 cameras for 8,266,273 people = 60.49 cameras per 1,000 people
  8. Guangzhou, China – 684,000 cameras for 12,967,862 people = 52.75 cameras per 1,000 people
  9. Beijing, China – 800,000 cameras for 20,035,455 people = 39.93 cameras per 1,000 people
  10. Atlanta, Georgia (US) – 7,800 cameras for 501,178 people = 15.56 cameras per 1,000 people
  11. Singapore – 86,000 cameras for 5,638,676 people = 15.25 cameras per 1,000 people
  12. Abu Dhabi, UAE – 20,000 cameras for 1,452,057 people = 13.77 cameras per 1,000 people
  13. Chicago, Illinois (US) – 35,000 cameras for 2,679,044 people = 13.06 cameras per 1,000 people
  14. Urumqi, China – 43,394 cameras for 3,500,000 people = 12.40 cameras per 1,000 people
  15. Sydney, Australia – 60,000 cameras for 4,859,432 people = 12.35 cameras per 1,000 people
  16. Baghdad, Iraq – 120,000 cameras for 9,760,000 people = 12.30 cameras per 1,000 people
  17. Dubai, UAE – 35,000 cameras for 2,883,079 people = 12.14 cameras per 1,000 people
  18. Moscow, Russia – 146,000 cameras for 12,476,171 people = 11.70 cameras per 1,000 people
  19. Berlin, Germany – 39,765 cameras for 3,556,792 people = 11.18 cameras per 1,000 people
  20. New Delhi, India – 179,000 cameras for 18,600,000 people = 9.62 cameras per 1,000 people

Source: The world’s most-surveilled cities – Comparitech