Big Brother watching you? These are the world's most heavily surveilled cities

Eight of the world’s top 10 cities under the most surveillance have something in common: they’re all in China.

Researchers from Comparitech, a consumer-oriented tech website, studied the number of CCTV cameras in use in 120 major cities around the world and compared those numbers to the respective population of each city.

Chongqing had the highest rate of CCTV cameras, with about 168 for every 1,000 people. Shanghai had the overall most cameras, with more than 2.9 million, but its higher population meant it had only 113 cameras per 1,000 people.

China reportedly has about 200 million CCTV cameras. But by 2022, the country is projected to have 626 million cameras, one camera for every two people based on its current population, according to the study.

Among the 10 cities with the most surveillance, only Atlanta (No. 10) and London (No. 6) were outside of China, the study found. Atlanta, with 7,800 cameras for 501,000 people, and Chicago, with 35,000 cameras for 2.6 million people, were the only U.S. cities to make the top 20.

Researchers didn’t find any noteworthy correlation between the number of cameras and crime or safety.

“Broadly speaking, more cameras doesn’t necessarily result in people feeling safer,” the researchers wrote in their report.

Here are the top 10 most surveilled cities in the world, according to Comparitech:

Chongqing, China

2,579,890 cameras for 15,354,067 people = 168.03 cameras per 1,000 people

Shenzhen, China

1,929,600 cameras for 12,128,721 people = 159.09 cameras per 1,000 people

Shanghai, China

2,985,984 cameras for 26,317,104 people = 113.46 cameras per 1,000 people

Tianjin, China

1,244,160 cameras for 13,396,402 people = 92.87 cameras per 1,000 people

Ji’nan, China

540,463 cameras for 7,321,200 people = 73.82 cameras per 1,000 people


London, England

627,707 cameras for 9,176,530 people = 68.40 cameras per 1,000 people

Wuhan, China

500,000 cameras for 8,266,273 people = 60.49 cameras per 1,000 people

Guangzhou, China

684,000 cameras for 12,967,862 people = 52.75 cameras per 1,000 people

Beijing, China

800,000 cameras for 20,035,455 people = 39.93 cameras per 1,000 people

Atlanta, Georgia

7,800 cameras for 501,178 people = 15.56 cameras per 1,000 people