Denver: Third “Most Watched” City in America

Denver’s red-light cameras have recently been a major point of contention in city government, following a report released by Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher last year. In that report, Gallagher concluded that:

Because these programs were sold as public safety enhancements but are widely viewed as a cash grab, it undermines public trust to maintain photo enforcement programs that are profitable but whose safety impact has not been conclusively shown. If this situation persists, then the photo enforcement programs should be shut down.

As it turns out, not only do red light and speed cameras “undermine public trust,” they also undermine — perhaps naturally — individual privacy. Indeed, according to a recent study put together by Men’s Health Magazine, Denver is the third “most watched” city in America.

To figure out where it’s always 1984, we gathered intelligence on the presence of all kinds of cameras: traffic, red light, and police surveillance (, Photo, and local police and state transportation departments). We then checked in with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to calculate rates of authorized government wiretaps.

Only Washington, DC and Houston, Texas outrank Denver in terms of surveillance. In fact, the Mile High City has more cameras than other cities which dwarf its size: Chicago places 30th on the list, with Los Angeles at 81 and Boston at 87.

Don’t think you can easily escape the camera’s gaze, either. Colorado Springs comes in at at 24 and Aurora, 34.  

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