17 Places That Undercover Cops Will Always Monitor

Written By Jill Taylor

While it isn’t always obvious, undercover cops play a crucial role in maintaining public safety. They blend into the background in various locations, carefully observing and acting to prevent crime. In this article, we’ll reveal 17 places where you’re likely to find undercover cops—though you can bet you won’t see them!

Nightclubs and Bars

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This may go without saying, but clubs and bars are a hotspot for undercover cops. This is because many of them are focusing on drug activity and alcohol-related offenses. They’ll be monitoring for underage drinking and fake IDs, along with observing interactions that might indicate illegal transactions or predatory behavior.

High-Crime Neighborhoods

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Areas with high rates of criminal activity are typically patrolled by undercover cops who are hoping to gather intelligence on local gangs and criminal networks. These cops typically go undercover as residents or locals to blend in. If you live in one of these areas, you can rest a little easier.

Major Sporting Events

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According to Sportsbook Review, 39.2% of sports fans have witnessed or fallen victim to a crime in a sporting stadium. With that in mind, it only makes sense to have undercover cops around. These officers look for ticket scalping and counterfeit merchandise, monitor crowds for pickpocketing and unruly behavior, and prevent and respond to potential acts of violence or terrorism.

Public Transit Systems

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You can also expect to find undercover cops on and around public transportation. They’ll be doing surveillance for pickpocketing and assault, monitoring for drug trafficking and smuggling activities, and ensuring passenger safety during peak travel times.

Schools and Colleges

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You may not expect it, but at times, cops will be monitoring schools and colleges as part of their undercover work. This is to investigate drug dealing and possession among students, prevent bullying and school violence, and monitor for signs of radicalization or extremist behavior.

Airports and Borders

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There are plenty of visible cops and security guards at these locations, but watch out because there are also more undercover. These officers are in place to counter drug trafficking and smuggling, prevent human trafficking and illegal immigration, and monitor for potential terrorist threats—making traveling safer for us all.

Online Forums and Social Media

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As shared by the College of Policing, “Undercover online operatives are selected, vetted, trained, and accredited to gather intelligence and evidence.” These professionals infiltrate illegal online marketplaces, monitor for cybercrime and identity theft activities, and gather intelligence on extremist groups and potential threats.

Protests and Political Gatherings

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While there are naturally going to be cops out in the open at these gatherings, there are likely to be additional cops at the scene undercover. These officers are there to further ensure public safety and order, prevent infiltration by extremist elements, and monitor for potential outbreaks of violence.

Tourist Hotspots

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When it comes to tourist hotspots, you just know there are going to be incidents of trouble—whether from the tourists themselves or scammers. So, expect undercover officers to be in place. Their job is to prevent scams and theft targeted at tourists, monitor street vendors and performers for licensing violations, and safeguard against pickpocketing and petty crime.

Traffic Stops and Highways

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At traffic stops and on highways, undercover cops may be in place for various reasons. These include monitoring for DUI and reckless driving, doing undercover patrols for drug couriers and human trafficking, and just routine traffic stops to gather intelligence and deter crime.

Shopping Malls and Retail Centers

Mall of America , Minneapolis
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“Shopping centers and malls provide ample opportunity for the occurrence of crime,” as per the Office of Justice Programs. So, it only makes sense to have undercover officers in place to counter theft and shoplifting. These cops will also monitor for organized retail crime rings and ensure public safety during high-traffic periods like holidays.

Festivals and Public Celebrations

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Wherever there’s a crowd, for good or bad reason, you can expect undercover cops to be monitoring. At festivals and public celebrations, they’ll be in place to spot illegal substance use and distribution, ensure crowd control and prevent disturbances, and counter potential threats of terrorism.

Hotels and Motels

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Some hotels and motels are hotspots for illegal activities, which is why you may find undercover cops here. They’ll be around to monitor for drug activity and prostitution, counter human trafficking operations, and investigate potential criminal meetings or transactions.

Construction Sites and Industrial Areas

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One unexpected place you may come across an undercover cop or two is at a construction site or industrial area. Officers are sometimes assigned here to monitor for theft of equipment and materials, to investigate potential drug distribution hubs, and to ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations.

Parks and Recreational Areas

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Undercover cops patrol parks and recreational areas to maintain public tranquility. Their presence is a deterrent to drug use and petty crimes that can disrupt the peaceful enjoyment of these spaces. They also monitor activities like illegal gambling, ensuring these spaces remain safe for families and children.

ATMs and Financial Institutions

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According to Pinkerton, “ATM crimes in America increased 600% from 2019 to 2020.” So, it’s no wonder there are often undercover cops around them and other financial institutions. These officers are in place to prevent and investigate fraud and identity theft, monitor for potential robbery attempts, and ensure the safety and security of customers.

Entertainment Venues (Cinemas, Theaters, Concerts)

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The presence of undercover cops at entertainment venues deters illegal recording and piracy, preserving the integrity of the entertainment industry. Moreover, the officers focus on preventing drug activities and underage drinking, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

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