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Atlanta leads the nation in camera surveillance, report finds

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But does 16 cameras for every 1,000 people mean we’re safer?

A man and a woman in the foreground are blurry, while a surveillance camera watching from behind them is in focus.
Smile, Atlanta...
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Years after former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden unveiled the U.S. government's mass surveillance program, Americans generally feel like they’re being watched at all times.

People tape over the webcams on their laptops, and they cautiously watch what they say around Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. They’ve become acutely aware that a fear once spelled out by George Orwell’s novel 1984 has become a daunting reality.

And in the City of Atlanta, that feeling of being monitored at all hours, it seems, is more warranted than in all other U.S. cities, according to a new report by technology website Comparitech.

For every 1,000 Atlantans, there are nearly 16 CCTV cameras, per the research. (That’s 7,800 cameras for just over half a million people.)

Eight cities in China and one in England top Atlanta when it comes to cameras per capita, but in America, the Peach State’s capital is unrivaled.

The next most closely watched city is Chicago, which has 35,000 surveillance cameras keeping an eye on about 2.7 million people—about 13 cameras per 1,000 people.

Washington D.C.—perhaps the nation’s most heavily guarded city—has just 5.61 cameras for every 1,000 residents.

London and Atlanta, according to the study, were the only non-Chinese cities in the top 10 list of most-surveilled cities.

Chongquing, China reportedly has the most cameras per person, with more than 168 for each 1,000 heads.

The research also shows that Atlanta has less crime and is all-around safer than Chicago, although the stats show “little correlation between the number of public CCTV cameras and crime or safety.”