According to a study by research website Comparitech, the majority of the world's most surveilled cities are located in China. The country has been making headlines for its generous use of surveillance technology and is featured heavily throughout the whole ranking that looked at the 150 most populous cities worldwide, excluding those for which insufficient data was available. However, India's showing among the Chinese-dominated top 20 is getting stronger, with Indore making an entrance in rank 4, while Hyderabad moved up from rank 16 in 2020 to rank 12 and Delhi entered in rank 16 in 2021.
The Chinese city of Taiyuan, located in the Shanxi province roughly 300 miles Southwest of Beijing, tops the list with 117 public CCTV cameras per 1,000 inhabitants. The highest-ranked non-Chinese city is London, also notorious for its strict surveillance of public spaces, with 73 cameras per 1,000 people in rank 3. With seven and almost nine cameras per 1,000 inhabitants, New York City and Los Angeles were the only two U.S. cities in the analysis.
CCTV technology is controversial in many places around the world, with proponents touting its benefits for fighting crime and opponents cautious about surveillance’s potential to be used as a tool of public control and to violate privacy rights. The makers of the survey said that they found little correlation between lower crime rates or a heightened feeling of security and surveillance in the cities surveyed.