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Security & privacy

List: 10 cities where surveillance cameras are always watching

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Aside from airports, government buildings and other high-security areas, you can never be sure when you’re under surveillance. You can look up and sometimes spot the cameras, but they’re not always in plain sight.

The level of government surveillance depends on where you live. Here are the top 10 cities with the most cameras relative to population.

Here’s the backstory

According to cybersecurity research company Comparitech, the average U.S. city has around six cameras per 1,000 people. The company studied the 50 most populated cities under the most surveillance according to the number of cameras compared to the number of residents.

Comparitech looked at a variety of camera types:

  • Fixed CCTV cameras.
  • Cameras accessed through real-time crime centers.
  • Private cameras within the police force’s network.
  • Cameras on public transport facilities.
  • Traffic cameras.
  • Streetlight cameras.

The study even looked at police departments that access private Ring doorbell data installed at people’s homes, though these figures were not included in the final results. Did you know that police can access your Ring footage without your permission? Tap or click here to stop law enforcement from asking you for any videos.

While at it, you’ll want to disable Amazon’s shared wireless network, known as Sidewalk. Here’s how to opt out of Sidewalk on your Amazon devices.

Using Census.gov data, this is what the study revealed:

  • 44.2 million people are being monitored by 270,000 cameras.
  • Atlanta was the most surveilled city, with a ratio of 48.93 cameras per 1,000 people.
  • Chicago had the highest number of cameras at 32,000.
  • 28 of the police departments have access to Ring doorbell technology and have submitted a total of 728 requests for access to footage in the third quarter of 2020.

RELATED: Do this or anyone can see what your security camera sees

The top 10 most surveilled cities in the US.

Based on the number of cameras per 1,000 people, these are the 10 most surveilled cities in the U.S.:

  1. Atlanta, Georgia – 24,800 cameras for 506,811 people = 48.93 cameras per 1,000 people.
  2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 28,064 cameras for 1,584,064 people = 17.72 cameras per 1,000 people.
  3. Denver, Colorado – 12,273 cameras for 727,211 people = 16.88 cameras per 1,000 people.
  4. Washington, District of Columbia – 11,441 cameras for 705,749 people = 16.21 cameras per 1,000 people.
  5. San Francisco, California – 14,266 cameras for 881,549 people = 16.18 cameras per 1,000 people.
  6. Las Vegas, Nevada – 10,208 cameras for 651,319 people = 15.67 cameras per 1,000 people.
  7. Detroit, Michigan – 8,836 cameras for 670,031 people = 13.19 cameras per 1,000 people.
  8. Chicago, Illinois – 32,000 cameras for 2,693,976 people = 11.88 cameras per 1,000 people.
  9. Portland, Oregon – 6,411 cameras for 654,741 people = 9.79 cameras per 1,000 people.
  10. Fresno, California – 4,706 cameras for 531,576 people = 8.85 cameras per 1,000 people.

While U.S. cities are under heavy surveillance, China has us beat overall with 372.8 cameras per 1,000 people.

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