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Warsaw and Budapest among the EU’s most-surveilled cities

Warsaw, Poland – With 7.85 CCTV cameras per 1,000 people, Warsaw ranks in the top three most-surveilled cities in the EU, far behind London (68.40) and Berlin (11.18), according to a recent study. Budapest ranks 6th with 3.40 CCTV cameras per 1,000 people.

Prague’s 2,820 CCTV cameras put the Czech capital at the 11th place, with 2.17 cameras per 1,000 people.

The study found that eight out of the world’s 10 most-surveilled cities are in China, with only London and Atlanta the only non-Chinese cities to make the top 10. In fact, while estimates vary on the number of CCTV cameras in China, reports range from 200 million up to 626 million in use by 2020. By 2022, China is projected to have one public CCTV camera for every two people.

Focusing on the world’s most heavily-populated cities and omitting any city where they couldn’t find enough data, the researchers collated a number of resources, 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. As a result, the study found nearly 14,000 cameras in Warsaw and 6,000 in Budapest, as opposed to 627,707 in London and 2,579,890 in Chongqing, the most-surveilled city in the world, according to the study.

Eight out of the world’s 10 most-surveilled cities are in China. Credit: Comparitech

However, after comparing the number of public CCTV cameras with the crime and safety indices, the study found little or no correlation between the number of public CCTV cameras and crime or safety in the city. In fact, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest all rank as safer cities than London, with the Czech capital ranking as the safest of the three despite being the least-surveilled.

Broadly speaking, more cameras doesn’t necessarily result in people feeling safer.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras serve many purposes, ranging from crime prevention to traffic monitoring to observing industrial operations in environments not suitable for humans. According to Comparitech, the digital age has boosted the prevalence of CCTV surveillance and the adoption of face recognition technology makes it possible for both public and private entities to instantly check the identity of anyone who passes by a CCTV camera.