20 Hotspots That Are Under Constant Surveillance by Undercover Cops

The world is a scary place filled with people out to inflict pain on others. Because of this, police presence is often needed in many places where the public convenes. From hotels to airports and even the bank, we’ve listed the top 20 places where there will always be an undercover cop keeping a watchful eye!

Airports and Other Entry or Exit Points to the Country

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Entry or exit points to the country, such as airports, ports, docks, and more, are constantly threatened. Therefore, these points must be monitored with utmost vigilance. For instance, the AITA has identified numerous security risks related to civil aviation, such as civil unrest, terrorism, human trafficking, smuggling, and more.

Transportation Hubs

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Aside from airports, it’s equally important to take safety precautions in transportation hubs, such as trains or bus stations. Millions of people come and go in these places, so it’s crucial for a country’s safety that they be checked and safeguarded.

Neighborhoods With High Crime Rates

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In one of Joe Biden’s State of the Union addresses, he mentioned that the USA has reported historically low murder rates in 2023. However, even if this is so, citizens highly doubt the statistics. They feel as if the government is trying to give them a false sense of security when they’re experiencing a completely different thing in real life. Because of the high crime rates and people’s perceptions, the police must constantly monitor different areas in various states.

Educational Institutions and Campuses

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America is notorious for having so many school shootings, and the National Center for Education Statistics shared that there have been a total of 276 casualties from elementary and secondary schools from 2000 to 2021 due to active shooting incidents. This is a rising security problem, and because of this, cops need to watch and surveil educational institutions. Additionally, cops are stationed in schools to prevent bullying and violence and to monitor and investigate students dealing with and possessing drugs.

Sports Gatherings and Competitions

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Many things could go wrong during a sporting event, as it affects many aspects of everyday life. For example, there will be an influx of traffic to the event area, and alcohol consumption will rise overall. Aside from this, sports teams in the NFL have been reported to hire undercover cops because of abusive fans. KPRC-TV reports, “According to the NFL, there are a handful of teams that employ undercover police officers to pose as rival fans by wearing the opposing team’s jersey.”

Popular Travel Destinations and Tourist Attractions

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No matter where you go, traveling always comes with some sort of risk. Though popular tourist spots seem safe overall, some areas are known to be a breeding ground for scammers, illegal street vendors, pickpockets, and more. Aside from this, they are closely watched by police officers because of the possible risks when it comes to terrorism.

Commercial Centers, Malls, and Shopping Complexes

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Shoppers are easy targets for pickpockets and armed robbers. This is especially so during the holidays, as people are known to shop more than ever during this season than on any other day. So, undercover cops are present to deter possible thefts, shoplifting, and other petty crimes in the area.

Clubs, Bars, and Other Nightlife Venues

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Many things can go wrong during your night out, especially when you’re intoxicated. Aside from the usual violent crimes and fighting, women are especially vulnerable to being drugged and abused. The NYPD also released an article wherein they mentioned that bars and nightclubs could be a target for terrorism. This is because these places are considered “soft targets,” which are defined as places wherein there will be mass casualties with little resistance compared to that of government or military facilities.

Red-Light Districts and Brothels

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Another big issue the government faces is human trafficking. This is most common in red-light districts and brothels; therefore, police presence in these areas is much needed. It could be a significant deterrent, as cops would be able to rapidly respond and enforce the law when any exploitation or trafficking happens.

Entertainment Arenas or Performance Spaces

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Theaters, cinemas, and especially concert grounds or arenas can get pretty rowdy when there’s an event. So, police presence is much needed when it comes to drug usage, underage drinking, and more. Cops are also in these spaces to deter piracy and recording illegal content. Justia explains, “Piracy also exists in more tangible forms offline: illegal bootleg recordings involve unauthorized recordings of concerts, movies shown in theaters, or television or radio broadcasts.”

Traffic Control Points

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Routine traffic stops or checkpoints are usually conducted to check for potential drug couriers or human traffickers. Patrolers usually catch people trying to come in and out of America’s borders to smuggle products in or out. However, they also do random checks for driving under the influence, reckless driving, or drug use.

Flea Markets

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In the United States of America, it’s illegal to purchase and sell counterfeit goods. This is why the police usually go undercover in flea markets, as some counterfeit goods are found there. For example, Lower Manhattan’s Canal Street market was a go-to place if someone wanted a fake fragrance or a knockoff Louis Vuitton. When officers discovered what was happening in the market, they immediately seized thousands of counterfeit items in the area.

Lodging Establishments Such as Hotels and Motels

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Some establishments look clean and respectable on the outside but hide deep secrets within their walls. The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, for example, is a notorious spot where all sorts of crimes took place. Beyond that, it’s not just these seedy hotels that are known for human trafficking; big hotel chains such as Wyndham, Shangri-La, and more are also hitting the news for being involved in these crimes. For this reason, police presence in these establishments is a must!

Public Demonstrations and Rallies

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To ensure public safety, law enforcement agencies often employ undercover police during public demonstrations and rallies. They also use this opportunity to monitor potential threats and gather intelligence.

Casinos and Other Gaming Establishments

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Undercover cops are usually stationed in casinos and other gambling establishments to ensure people’s safety and that establishments and gamblers alike are following the law. These police officers watch out for cheating and any other illegal activities, such as involvement in syndicate groups.

ATMs and Banks

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Police presence is needed in banks, specifically ATM machines, to deter and investigate numerous money-related crimes. Some examples of these are card fraud, robberies, ATM skimming, and other forms of theft. The need for undercover cops in these establishments is constantly increasing, as the ATM crime rate increased by about 165% from 2021 to 2022.

Construction Zones

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It might be surprising, but having police officers on construction sites and industrial areas is crucial to ensuring safety, equality, and order. These places can become hotspots for drug dealing and theft of equipment and materials. There are also cases when companies are found to be non-compliant with specific labor laws. It’s all thanks to undercover cops that problems like these are being solved!

Social Media and Digital Community Spaces or Forums

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With the help of undercover cops on social media and other online platforms, we can monitor potential cybercrime tactics. These include harassment, trafficking, cyberbullying, and even fraud. The internet, after all, is known to be a breeding ground for all sorts of crazy stuff, especially when the dark web is involved.


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While many transactions done in pawnshops are legal and lawful, there’s no contesting the fact that some thieves use them to make a quick buck. With undercover cops, there’s a higher chance of deterring possible theft and other illegal transactions. They can also help people recover potentially stolen goods.

Festivals and Other Public or Community Gatherings

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Similar to sports events, there’s a high chance that crime will occur in festivals and other big public gatherings. The same reasons apply, as there will be an influx of people in one space, and there will be an inevitable rise in alcohol consumption. Aside from this, the bigger the crowd, the bigger the possibility of a stampede, other disturbances, or even threats of terrorism.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.