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The Most Surveilled Cities in the World

We delved into research to learn about the growth of surveillance software in US major cities, and the benefits that this poses for civilian safety. Read below to see what we found out.

A header image introducing our Most Surveilled Cities article.
November 18, 2021
Blog Post

In the US, there are 50 million closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras in use and 697,195 police officers operating so it is extremely difficult to make your way around without going unnoticed. As identity verification and facial recognition continue to grow, security and safety while travelling around is going to be a constant cause of discussion. 

In the physical world, CCTV cameras use biometrics to identify people. In the online world, when people want to get access to digital services, they need to verify their identity and this is where Veriff comes in. For secure and accurate identity verification, Veriff’s intelligent decision engine analyzes thousands of technological and behavioural variables in seconds, matching people to more than 10,000 government-issued ID’s from over 190 countries - meaning businesses of all sizes can verify identities, making our world safer. 

But back to the safety of the physical world. CCTV cameras are the most popular form of surveillance that is seen across all cities in the US, Chicago, Illinois comes in on top with 32,000 cameras in the city however when measured against the population Atlanta, Georgia takes the top spot with a whopping 50 CCTV cameras per 1,000 people making it extremely difficult to go unnoticed when exploring the city. Columbus, Ohio takes the top spot for the number of police stations per 1,000 people while Washington, DC has the largest number of police officers per 1,000 people in patrolled areas. With 5 police officers per 1,000 people, you would need to be a real Jason Bourne to slip through the cracks. 

Overall, Atlanta, Georgia takes the number one spot for the most monitored city at a score of 71 based on scoring for CCTV cameras, police stations and police officers. This was closely followed by Washington (66.3), Detroit (61), Philadelphia (57.1) and Baltimore (50.4). Find out below how other cities fared when measured on their surveillance. 

The Most Surveilled Cities

Stats showing the hardest cities to go undercover in.

Identity verification is an exciting new way to expand security measures, and features such as facial recognition are on the rise so not only are we identified in public but also in private on our devices. While we can see from the above, the cities that are the most surveilled in relation to CCTV and public cameras, which cities have been the birthplace of the largest amount of cybersecurity companies? 

We identified the top 20 US cities that have founded cybersecurity companies in relation to the population that resides there. Cybersecurity consists of different things and while the rise of CCTV cameras and surveillance constantly grows, the need for companies to help keep this information secure also does. New York has founded over 65 cybersecurity companies followed by Washington (31) and San Diego (29), however, when compared against population San Diego takes 2nd spot. See how your city fared below.

Cities with the Most Cyber Security Companies

A table showing the most cybersecure cities in the US.


We analyzed each featured city across four different metrics: number of CCTV cameras, number of police stations and number of police officers operating in the population covered by force per 1,000 people (population data from 2020). Each of these metrics was weighted based on an amount to make a score of 100. Every city was then allocated a score based on their figures for each metric with their overall score determining their final rank within the index. Number of cybersecurity companies per city was taken from Crunchbase.