The pandemic is not only giving rise to daily new infections, it causes a steep rise to various crimes as well. The Covid-19 crisis has taken a heavy toll on our economy, rendering many people jobless. This is the reason behind many resorting to various types of criminal activities to make ends meet. If this is one aspect of the issue, we can see decreased social exchanges, free movement and increased anxiety, depression or emotional vulnerability lead to complex psychological effects that make individuals prone to commit various types of crimes.
Political violence, theft, burglary, murder and crime against children and women are nothing new to India. But comparatively different and newer types of crimes have emerged during the pandemic.
Here are the 6 major types of crimes that are occurring in India amid this Covid-19 crisis.
1. Massive cyber fraud
We’ll start with something that you have already read about. This pandemic has been a major profit opportunity for cybercriminals. Cyber attacks against organizations or individuals are already taking place and the number is expected to rise as long as people are copped in their homes and are bound to engage in work from home. According to a recent report by Reuters that quoted the Indian home ministry’s statement, cybercrimes soared around 86% between March and April. Various types of payment frauds, malware attacks and cyber scams are on the rise as well.
2. Widespread domestic violence
Now this is not just the problem of India, but domestic violence ha been rising across the world amid this pandemic. The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic” alongside Covid-19. According to experts, such violence has risen by 20% as victims are locked in homes with their abusers during the strict and lengthy lockdown period. According to the data of the National Commission for Women, total 116 reports of cases of domestic violence were lodged in March first week when the pandemic was still at a very early stage. The number rose to 257 by the end of March when the lockdown began. Job loss, pay cuts, restricted day-to-day movement and work from home culture all these factors made an impact on the traditional gender roles in a patriarchal society like India. In most of the cases, these made individuals, especially men, show more aggressive behavior towards their opposite gender.
— Kailash Satyarthi (@k_satyarthi) June 28, 2020
Similarly, the pandemic has a dangerous impact on the lives of children as well. The World Health Organization itself expressed concern over the extensive rise in physical, sexual and verbal abuse against children which lead them to having injuries, disabilities and even death. Even Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi has urged all states to step up their surveillance system to prevent child abuse at the safest place children can be, at their home.
3. Street crime, but in new forms
Street crimes are also growing amid this pandemic but its nature and extent have changed, say experts. Bike-borne men robbing gold chain or necklace from morning walkers in posh localities of metro cities is nothing new but the perpetrators are new. As per police records, they are not habitual criminals, rather very ordinary people just like us. Some are students, young professionals or even restaurant managers who faced the brutal brunt of the pandemic situation and resorted to the wrong path.
4. Largescale online piracy of contents
Online piracy has increased by 62% from January to June, according to the half-yearly report published by a regional data research and protection company from Noida. It is true that there is a surge of the release of several films and series on the web platform lately as this is only feasible at the present moment, but there is a sharp rise in downloading X-rated contents as well. Pornographic content viewing and downloading has increased by 95% during the pandemic, triggering complex psychological effects on the underage and youths.
5. Rise in drug trafficking
The UN Office of Drugs and Crime has expressed concern that the pandemic could give rise to increased use of drugs and narcotics. As people are locked in their homes and are facing various mental health issues, they often resort to taking drugs to boost their mood. The Vienna-based agency said that there were lessons to be learned from what happened in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. Rising unemployment and lack of opportunities would push people to opt for the consumption of illicit drugs, the agency said.
6. Manufacturing and sale of counterfeit goods have increased
This pandemic has triggered massive scale manufacturing and sale of various counterfeit goods. Right from Covid-19 medicines, to hand sanitizers, to N95 masks, the Indian market is a hub of fake products. Even some Indian firms have come under scanner for allegedly selling counterfeit Covid-19 drugs to various European companies. As per reports, fraudulent documents and certificates are used to traffic these products abroad.
COVID-19 has triggered a surge in demand for N95 respirators.
— The Wire (@thewire_in) July 18, 2020
This proves that this pandemic is not only giving rise to daily caseload of new infections but to several other maladies of the country. Covid-19 crisis is a golden opportunity for many to deceive, abuse, and manipulate people.
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