Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems are a growing phenomenon in most Western countries and a fixed item on security agendas in urban environments around the world. But while several authors have studied the proliferation of CCTV from a comparative perspective, in most cases the analysis is focused at the national level, assuming that local processes are no more than the locus of implementation of national agendas. Moreover, issues related to political configurations and reconfigurations, historical factors and internal dynamics of power have seldom been tackled, and some of the assumptions about proliferation patterns in the most widely researched areas have become general assumptions. The new empirical research findings presented in this article offer a detailed and empirically evidenced account of the political and policy environment surrounding the uptake of video surveillance in Catalonia and suggests that zooming in on local processes adds complexity to the understanding of the process of CCTV proliferation at the global level. Specifically, the article addresses: the role of local/global interaction in the emergence of CCTV as a new orthodoxy, the relationship between video surveillance and economic and commercial pressures on urban restructuring, the role of party politics and political ideologies in surveillance policy, and the specific articulation of the interaction between video surveillance and urban disorder. The article ends by exploring both local narratives and global-local policy dynamics, concluding that there is a need to conduct further research on the specific ways in which CCTV policy travels through borders and between the scales of government, and the processes by which it becomes embedded in diverse geographic, political and institutional settings.