For this field work assignment we walked around areas near UCL and looked at London as a smart city in terms of surveillance, taking note of CCTV cameras in the area. We always knew that London had a lot of security cameras, but actively looking for them proved to be quite strange as we realised that they are really everywhere.
We spotted cameras on street corners, around shops, inside shops, on street poles, on the side of buildings, at the entrance of buildings, near banks and ATMs, on buses, as well as in and around train/tube stations. It seemed like the abundance of cameras was at times unnecessary and, although cameras are primarily meant to prevent crime, the vast amount of them gives and almost creepy feeling of being watched by an unknown. It seems that people feel safer in a crowded environment where people can “watch” them, yet the idea of being “watched” by cameras is less comforting than the physical presence of others.
London has one of the highest number of CCTV cameras of any city in the world. London’s 33 councils operate approximately 7000 public CCTV cameras. By comparison, Paris has 326 equivalent cameras.
In addition to the cameras, you can find a lot of CCTV signs around the city.
One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey