A city worker installs video surveillance cameras outside GM Place in downtown Vancouver. ((CBC))

With just 10 days to go until the opening of the 2010 Winter Games, nearly 1,000 security cameras have been turned on to monitor the crowds, which are already starting to fill the streets.

About 900 of the cameras were installed by the RCMP-led Olympic security team around venues for the Games, while another 90 cameras were installed by the City of Vancouver around public sites in the downtown area.

The Integrated Security Unit team said without the cameras more police officers would be needed to keep an eye on Olympic visitors. But privacy watchdogs have expressed concerns the monitoring tramples civic rights.

But the RCMP and the city have both said the cameras will be dismantled after the Paralympic Games end in March and the recordings will only be kept for a limited time.

The 2010 Olympics will run from Feb. 12-28 across Metro Vancouver and at Whistler.