Big Brother is watching Flanders

The local police or the municipality purchased a total of 3,524 cameras in Flanders. Their number more than tripled over the past five years. It concerns both the normal safety and surveillance cameras and the newer (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) ANPR cameras. Speed control cameras and the private ones were not taken into account.
Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Media

The goal of normal cameras is to produce video images that may or may not be viewed and recorded simultaneously. ANPR cameras recognise number plates of cars. In an instant, the ANPR camera knows whether a car has been signalled or stolen, or is driving around without insurance. It can also be used for roadside control.

The number of cameras in Flanders is not evenly spread throughout the regions. For example, cities such as Antwerp and Mechelen have hundreds of them, while Ghent has only 11. Huge differences are also noticed in more rural areas: police district BRT (Begijnendijk-Rotselaar-Tremelo) has none, whereas police district Balen-Dessel-Mol 121.

No less than 91 percent of the police districts increased the number of cameras in this legislature. Before 2012, there were 973 cameras - that number more than tripled over the past five years. It is mainly the high-tech ANPR cameras that are on the rise: from a few dozen in 2012 to 1,154 today.

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