Did You Know?


I thought I would share some interesting tidbits with you regarding CCTV.

  • The first CCTV system was installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VIII in Peenemünde Germany in 1942, for observing the launch of V-2 rockets.


  • In September 1968, Olean, New York was the first city in the United States to install video cameras along its main business street in an effort to fight crime.

  • Britain has the most extensive public CCTV networks in the world, in 2008 it was estimated at 4.2 million cameras.
    • This is 1.5 times as many surveillance cameras as all of communist China,
    • The system is so extensive they can track you getting into a cab at Heathrow Airport, follow you and watch you exit in downtown Piccadily Square.
  • The growth of CCTV in Canada has been largely influenced by the growth of CCTV in the UK.
  • In 1991, Sherbrooke, Quebec became one of the first Canadian city to install a single surveillance camera in a public space for the purposes of curbing delinquent behavior.
    • The single camera was introduced by local police to watch a particular area in the downtown bar district.
    • Subsequently it removed in 2003 after it was ruled to violate Quebec’s privacy legislation.

  • In Britain, the Home Office has provided high levels of funding for surveillance camera initiatives, spending over £250 million of public money on open street CCTV.
  • The most publicized success using CCTV images, was for the investigation of the case of 2 - 10 year old boys who abducted, tortured and killed 2 year old Jamie Bulger in Merseyside, England in 1993. Police were actually able to track the youngster being escorted away by the 2 youths from a mall and followed their progress to the scene of the crime, 2.5 kilometers away and were later on able to identify the minors and use this video evidence in the persecution of the minors..
    • This incident gained national attention due to the age of all involved and to the fact that the minors charged were  tried for the crime and sentenced as adults.


  • Again in England in July 2005 (7/7) the suicide bombings that targeted London’s public transit system.  They were able to track down who came from where, who did what and identify and arrest those involved.
  • Sudbury has one of the longest running surveillance camera systems in Canada which has, in turn, become a model for other Canadian surveillance initiatives, such as those in London, Ontario, Hamilton, Barrie and Vancouver.
    • In 1996, Sudbury, Ontario introduced a five camera monitoring system in the downtown area and rail yard.
    • The ‘Lion’s Eye in the Sky’ project in Sudbury, for example, was originally funded by the Lion’s Club, as well as a local business, Northern Voice and Video (which donated the first camera), Sudbury Hydro, CP Rail, the Sudbury Metro Centre and Ontario Works. 
  • Today most if not all Canadian city funding, including operating budgets allow provisions for purchase, installation, maintenance and operation of CCTV systems
  • Both in the UK and Canada the roots of CCTV started with local businessmen wanting to protect their assets, not with their government, (National or Regional) or the city.
  • Most public camera surveillance in Canada has been introduced since 2000.
  • In Toronto, the push for public camera surveillance was fuelled by the Boxing Day 2005 shooting of 15‐year‐old Jane Creba. A pilot project installed cameras in the same downtown area where the Creba shooting had occurred.
    • 15 cameras were installed in a trial project
    • in 2010 an additional 71 cameras were installed for use in the G8-G20 summit talks.

  • While the Hamilton initially purchased a system in 2001, it was not activated until years later due to controversy about a perceived lack of public consultation about the initiative. And a similar high‐profile crime in which Canadian figure skater, Alexandre Hamel) was mugged, sparked a news series detailing a ‘crisis’ in Hamilton’s downtown core, which in turn led to the eventual establishment of Hamilton’s surveillance camera project in 2004.
  • In Vancouver, monitoring of transportation routes and the flow of traffic on city streets uses 24 surveillance cameras to record traffic entering the city from the east, while 12 cameras monitor west ward and northbound traffic.
    • Nearly 800 cameras monitor all commuter activity on the 28‐kilometre Vancouver Sky Train route.
    • An additional 1,000 cameras were added in support of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, 100 installed by the Vancouver Police and 900 by the RCMP to monitor and control pedestrian traffic and venues.
    • Subsequently these same cameras and those of the media with the aid of the public were later used to arrest vandals who rioted after the Vancouver Canucks lost in 7 games by the Boston Bruins in the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Finals.  The frustration of the fans stemmed from the fact that the Vancouver Canucks had a 3-0 lead in the series and the Boston Bruins came back sweep the final 4 games and win the series and take Lord Stanley's cup.


  • The major push for CCTV in major centers resulted from the attack in the US (9/1/1) and in the UK IN 2005 (7/7). 


  • These centers (US & UK) have both adopted polices whereas they would rather be proactive and install the systems as a deterrent, then to wait and react to a crime perpetuated upon their nations and its citizens.
    • In the US since 911 tight laws has allowed the monitoring of city streets to prevent terrorists acts from occurring, especially in New York city which has been seen to bare the burnt of the attacks.
  • In Toronto the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) intends to implement 12,000 cameras across Toronto's transportation network of buses, streetcars, and subways at a cost of roughly $18 million.


  • The main reasons given for installing cameras in Canada can be separated into three categories:

1. Deterring crime

2. Detecting crime, gathering evidence and deploying law enforcement

3. Increasing public perceptions of safety.

Some municipalities with open street

camera surveillance as of 2007

Some municipalities considering camera surveillance or that have previously considered cameras as of 2006

Kelowna, BC

Sudbury, ON

Hamilton, ON

London, ON

Windsor, ON

Toronto, ON

Thunder Bay, ON


Sturgeon Falls, ON

Sherbrooke, QC

Drummondville, QC

Baie‐Comeau, QC

Montreal, QC

Hull, QC

Antigonish, NS

Vancouver, BC

Nanaimo, BC

Victoria, BC

Calgary, AB

Lethbridge, AB

St. Albert, AB

Medicine Hat, AB

Fort Qu‐Appelle, SK

Saskatoon, SK

Winnipeg, MB

Dauphin, MB

Selkirk, MB

Midland, ON

Brockville, ON

Guelph, ON

Charlottetown, PEI

Now you know some facts. Ask yourself do you see security cameras as a deterrent?  Better yet ask yourself this, if there were no cameras how much would have occurred and to what extent.

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