There are times that you feel like you’re being watched. If you are in these cities, then that might just be the case.
This is from a study from Comparitech, entitled The world’s most-surveilled cities. Their research shows that cities in China are some of the most surveilled cities in the world with Chongqing, Shenzen, and Shanghai on the top three.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras serve many purposes in cities including crime prevention, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, observing and monitoring several areas. Advancements in technology have made CCTVs cheaper and better and files can be easily moved and stored on the Internet.
The metric for surveillance used by Comparitech is the number of public and private surveillance cameras. They focused more on public cameras used by government entities. To estimate the number of public CCTV cameras, Comparitech aggregated multiple sources. They also tried to find data for private CCTVs if available, though they weren’t included for the totals since not all cities have this information.
As for the cities included in the ranking, Comparitech focused on the world’s most heavily populated cities they based on the data from World Atlas.
China has the most number of CCTV cameras in use. Eight out of the top ten cities are from China. Meanwhile, the cities of London and Atlanta are non-Chinese cities which made it to the top ten, ranking 5th and 10th place, respectively.
Apart from estimating the number of operational public CCTVs in these cities, Comparitech also checked for a correlation between the number of public CCTV cameras and the prevalence of crime, using a crime index was used to quantify this.
They also checked for the correlation of public CCTV cameras and the citizens’ perception of safety, with a safety index used to quantify this.
In the findings, they found that there is a weak correlation between the number of cameras and the prevalence of crime. This means that more cameras don’t necessarily amount to a lower number of crimes.
At the same time, they also found a weak correlation between the public perception of a city’s safety and the number of CCTVs. In other words, more cameras do not necessarily amount to a higher degree of perceived safety.
On the whole, this means that it would take more than just a large number of cameras for crime to dwindle down or for the public to feel that they are safe. While this could be instrumental in keeping our city safe, it also demands to be supported by efforts to strengthen other aspects of safety and security.