It's not just Lauren Boebert. Surveillance cameras are watching you in theaters too.

It's not just Lauren Boebert. Surveillance cameras are watching you in theaters too.
Rep. Lauren Boebert's caught-on-camera moment shouldn't come as a surprise.manusapon kasosod/Getty Images; Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • By some estimates, there are tens of millions of surveillance cameras in the United States.
  • So it's no surprise that Rep. Lauren Boebert was caught vaping and getting handsy with a date at a Denver theater last week.

Surveillance cameras seem like they're everywhere — probably because they are.

There are tens of millions of surveillance cameras in the United States alone, by some estimates, with some of the most populated cities in the country more heavily surveilled than others.

So it's no surprise that security cams set up at a Denver, Colorado, theater captured GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert last week vaping and being fondled by her date during a performance of the "Beetlejuice" musical before the two were booted from the venue.

But it's not just Boebert who could get caught on tape in an embarrassing situation.

CCTV cameras at theaters, retail stores, shopping malls, stadiums, other venues, and even traffic intersections across the country and beyond are watching you too.


"In most parts of the United States, CCTV cameras have proliferated over the past few decades," Dr. Bryce Peterson, a senior research scientist for the nonprofit CNA organization, told Insider.

There could be up to 100 million surveillance cameras in the US

Peterson, an adjunct professor at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that there could be up to 100 million surveillance cameras in the US, but it's impossible to say for sure because "many public and private entities own and deploy their own surveillance systems."

"That said, most public locations and private venues have at least some CCTV cameras that they maintain," Peterson said, adding that "it is not surprising" that an establishment like Denver's Buell Theater — where the Boebert incident unfolded — had such cameras.

Peterson noted, "Most businesses, especially those where retail theft or other types of crimes are prevalent, have CCTV. In these places, it is likely people are being recorded."

Boebert and her date were kicked out of the Buell Theater during the September 10 "Beetlejuice" performance after the Colorado congresswoman was accused of disruptive behavior, which included vaping and loud singing.


In the aftermath of the incident, high-quality surveillance footage emerged showing Boebert vaping as well as she and her date getting handsy with each other in their seats.

'You are always under surveillance

Denver Arts & Venues, the city and county agency that operates the Buell Theater, would not comment to Insider on its security arrangements and cameras, but said "such equipment is standard security protocol in many venues."

Washington DC's Kennedy Center, for example, told Insider that the nearly 2,500-seat venue "utilizes visible and unseen security measures," including surveillance cameras, "to ensure the safety and security of our guests, artists, and staff."

The famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City uses facial recognition technology among its various security measures, as Insider has previously reported.

The venue previously used that technology to deny a lawyer entry into a Rockettes show.


MSG Entertainment, which owns the 6,000-seat venue as well as Madison Square Garden and the Chicago Theatre, declined to comment on its venues' security arrangements for this story.

One thing is for certain, according to retired New York Police Department officer and safety and security expert Bill Stanton — the public is "always being watched" by some type of surveillance.

"Between Ring cameras, security cameras, store cameras, red light cameras, cameras on the highway, you are always under surveillance," Stanton, who authored the book, "Prepared Not Scared," told Insider. "We always talk about fear of 'Big Brother' watching. 'Big Brother' is here and it's not going anywhere."