IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON CRIME RATE

By Moksha Grover

The Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China was recognized as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). Today, the world is in the fight towards covid wide-ranging consequences. Pandemics have always changed the way human beings interact and covid pandemic is no exception in this case. People are facing collective forms of trauma due to health concerns, negativity caused by the pandemic, loss due to unemployment, false information surfing around social media etc.  Isolation and quarantine increased depression and anxiety among the people. Because of the side effects of the pandemic faced by the people domestic violence, homicide crimes, fraud and trafficking of medicinal products have increased significantly. While, due to lockdown crimes like theft, and robbery has shown a decline.

Domestic physical violence, abuse. Scared little caucasian girl, victim sitting close to a white wall with the shadow of an angry threatening mother with alcohol addiction. Awareness of social problems.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOMICIDES CRIME

While the covid pandemic has affected all types of crimes, some crimes have increased and some decreased. It has affected domestic violence and homicide crimes the most. Pandemic has added to the rise in domestic abuse and homicide crime. Due to economic reasons, the victim is forced to remain with the abuser. Some victims get quarantined with the abusers and are prone to sexual assault, partner violence, and child abuse. These people are also left without any access to services.

During the lockdown, many women were trapped in their houses and had to work all day and also become the victims of domestic violence by their husbands.  A study in New Delhi, India shows that by the second week of lockdown domestic violence cases rose from 116 in the first week to 257 in the final week in the month of March[1].  A study by researcher Priyanshi Chauhan found that “approximately 22.5% of married women, as compared to zero men and unmarried women, worked for more than 70 hours per week” during the lockdown[2]. The study also said unemployed women witnessed the highest increase of 30.5 percentage points for those who spent more than 70 hours per week on unpaid work[3].

COUNTERFEITING AND FRAUDS

Counterfeiting and fraud have increased a lot in this covid pandemic. High-demand products during the pandemic, mostly medical products are being counterfeited the most. Virus mitigating products such as face masks, virus test kits, PPT kits etc. worn by frontline workers and medical supplies used for treating COVID-19 patients were also counterfeited. In India, due to the shortage of remdisivir vaccines used for treating covid patients, criminals started selling fake remdisivir injections to people and in return took huge amounts of money from these people.

As the covid-19 pandemic led the way for online shopping, countering in online shopping also rose. Criminals began to exploit a greater use of social media as a medium for sales. The public trusts celebrities and influencers, promote a product and have faith in their recommendations. But this benefit was recognized by criminals and they recruited irresponsible influencers to engage in building interest in cheap and often dangerous fake goods. The covid pandemic is making a way for criminal counterfeiters and increasing the threat to businesses and consumers alike.

CYBERCRIMES

Owing to the shift of focus to a health crisis, cyber defence systems have been lowered. As a result, cybercriminals are attacking the computer networks and systems of individuals, businesses and even global organizations. Cybercriminals have created thousands of new websites for conducting spam campaigns or spreading malware. Various covid-19 maps and websites have been found embedded with malware, spyware and Trojans. Hospitals, medical centres and public institutions are being targeted by cybercriminals for ransomware attacks – since they are overwhelmed with the health crisis and cannot afford to be locked out of their systems, the criminals believe they are likely to pay the ransom[4].

TERRORIST ATTACKS

In comparison with the past, terrorist attacks have been reduced due to the global lockdown. In the past, when in 2013, the emergence of the Islamic state brought a new wave of attacks 2014 in cities around the world[5]. This wave of ISIS terror attacks seems to come to an end now. However, “Coronavirus denier movements” could contribute to the potential of violence since they attracted extremists from various ideological backgrounds[6]. In 2021, may a series of attacks in Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of 56 people[7]. Today, Afghanistan has been conquered by Talibans and now Talibans in association with Al-Qaeda have attacked Panjshir valley, a fight ongoing for two days[8]. Switzerland has warned of terror attacks on Covid vaccine sites[9].

THEORETICAL REASONS FOR THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CRIME

Overall covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the reduction of crime rates. More stringent restrictions over movement in public spaces due to lockdown have resulted in large declines in crimes like theft, burglary and other types of crimes.  There are mainly 4 causes that have led to a significant decrease in crime rates due to pandemics.

First, restrictions on mobility and reduction in economic and social activities outside of the household leave the criminals with fewer opportunities. These restrictions have also reduced the number of assaults with deadly weapons, robberies, residential burglaries, shoplifting, and thefts as a consequence of a reduced interaction of people in the urban environment. Furthermore, this pandemic has also led to a reduction in the opportunities for potential victims to encounter the potential offender

Second, due to the fear of infection, many criminals have become hesitant to engage in criminal activities. This cause has shown a consequence in the reduction of group crimes. Even if the lockdown is not imposed there are many criminals who do not engage in criminal activities due to the fear of infection.  Various studies propose that the lockdowns specifically lower crimes that are committed in groups. But more severe crimes like homicides fail to decline.

Third, due to the economic problems caused by the pandemic crimes can relatively increase. Individuals losing employment, income, lack of new public policies, weaker public support systems, and a larger informal sector can result in to increase in the willingness of criminals to commit crimes.

PREVENTING CRIME AND KEEPING SAFE DURING COVID-19

Covid-19 has affected the whole world in many ways including the type and number of crimes being committed. Along with focusing on the health crisis, it is the right time now to take steps that can help in the reduction of crime rates to ensure the safety of the people. Here are a few steps that can be taken to reduce crime rates.

  1. Talking about the risk factors associated with crime, our focus should be shifted towards socially vulnerable areas where there is often a combination of risk factors such as high levels of unemployment, mental ill-health and drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol consumption should be reduced as it can lead to domestic violence and child abuse when stress increases.
  • For reducing cybercrime, people should be taught about the precautions they should take to protect themselves from cybercrimes. These include setting a strong password, updating software, managing social media settings, using a full-service Internet security suite etc.
  • Appropriate policy measures can help a lot in overcoming fraud and counterfeiting of the products.
  • Having a proactive approach and spreading awareness can also help a lot. We should treat violence as a public health concern to ensure the protection of the people.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I would like to say that, although covid pandemic has decreased overall crime rates. However, Covid has not caused a reduction in all kinds of crime nor in all countries across the globe. There are some types of crimes that have increased due to covid pandemic and there are some countries that have seen an increase in crime rates. The focus should be given equally to crime around the world as to pandemics. People should be taught about the precautions they need to take. The world should stand together and fight against all the terrorist activities taking place in this covid pandemic


[1] Bismee Taskin, ‘Increased work, domestic abuse — how Covid lockdown was especially hard on women in India’, The Print (9th February,2021) < https://theprint.in/india/increased-work-domestic-abuse-how-covid-lockdown-was-especially-hard-on-women-in-india/601328/> accessed 3rd September, 2021

[2] Ibid.

[3] ibid.

[4] ‘COVID-19 cyberthreats’, Interpol < https://www.interpol.int/en/Crimes/Cybercrime/COVID-19-cyberthreats> accessed 3rd September,2021.

[5] ‘Timeline: the Rise, Spread, and Fall of the Islamic State’, Wilson centre (28th October,2019) < https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/timeline-the-rise-spread-and-fall-the-islamic-state> accessed 3rd September,2021.

[6] Thomas Wahl, ‘Council Conclusions: COVID-19 Impact on Terrorism and Violent Extremism’, Eucrim (6th July,2021)< https://eucrim.eu/news/council-conclusions-covid-19-impact-on-terrorism-and-violent-extremism/ > accessed 3rd September,2021

[7] Greg Barton, ‘n COVID’s shadow, global terrorism goes quiet. But we have seen this before, and should be wary’, The Conversation (14th August,2020) < https://theconversation.com/in-covids-shadow-global-terrorism-goes-quiet-but-we-have-seen-this-before-and-should-be-wary-144286> accessed 3rd September,2021

[8] ‘Afghanistan Crisis Updates: Al-Qaeda reportedly joins Taliban in attack on Panjshir valley, fight ongoing for two days’, The Economic Times (05 September, 2021) <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/newsblogs/latest-daily-news-and-updates-september-02/liveblog/85854590.cms > accessed 5th Septembter,2021

[9] ‘Switzerland warns of terror attacks on Covid vaccine sites’, Mint (29th August, 2021) < https://www.livemint.com/news/world/switzerland-warns-of-terror-attacks-on-covid-vaccine-sites-11630226544056.html> accessed 5th September,2021

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a serious crime in a household setting. Such crimes are a part of every society of the world. Spouse, children, elderly people are the victims in domestic violence. Domestic Violence can take place in the form of physical, mental, emotional, verbal abuse.

With every passing year, cases of domestic violence has been increasing rapidly. A significant number of deaths are taking place on an everyday basis due to domestic violence. Illiteracy, economic dependency, alcoholism etc are the main reasons behind domestic violence. Although many cases of domestic violence comes to light every year yet a huge number of cases goes unnoticed and unregistered.

Dowry is one of the main reason behind domestic violence. The groom and his family pressurise the bride and her family for money and other expensive things. If the family of the bride fails to fulfill the demands of the groom, the bride gets assaulted by her husband and her in – laws. Not only the newly married women but women married for several years too face violence from their in – laws. These women gets robbed of even their basic human rights and lead an unfortunate life.

In many of the cases, the abuser is psychotic and requires counselling. Besides the abuser, the people who are the mute spectators of domestic violence are equally responsible for the crime. To cope with the growing cases of domestic violence, India launched a campaign called ‘Bell Bajao’ with the motivation to raise voice against domestic violence happening around in the society.

The Government of India enforced many Domestic Violence Acts. In Section 498 – A of Indian Penal Code, rules and regulations have been mentioned. Law deals with the culprits strictly.

Making laws to deal with such violence is undoubtedly necessary but it is not enough. People will have to awake from their slumber and become aware. Every human being deserves honour and respect and it is high time for people to raise their voice to protest against the wrongful activities happening to self and others. Domestic Violence is a serious offence and has to be dealt with strongly.

Growing importance of Criminology in the contemporary world.

What is Crime?

Before understanding Criminology, we should know what is crime. We frequently use the word ‘Crime’. Crime is an act that harms individuals or a society and is punishable by law. Our society has never been crime free. Since the ancient days till the present day, society has witnessed various crimes and crime rates have been increasing ever since then. Everyday when we read the newspaper or watch the news and through social media, we come across instances of heinous criminal activities. In such a scenario, the importance of Criminology is greatly felt.

What is Criminology?

The scientific study of crime is Criminology. It not only studies crime but also studies the causes behind crime, laws relating to crime and also studies the measures to stop crimes.

Crimes are generally committed by those people who are not satisfied with what they have. Insecurities, greed, lust, hatred, suspicion, jealousy and the like are the main roots of crime. Here, Criminology plays an important role where the discipline studies all the components of society like family, religion, economy in relation to crime and makes the society understand, control and reduce crime by discovering and analysing its causes. Criminology provides stability to the society.

Importance of Criminology and Criminologists

Because of increasing crime rates, various laws relating to crime has also been introduced because law is an important tool of social control. Laws related to crime is adequately modified with time to deal with criminal activities and changing intentions and mindsets of the criminals.

Criminologists works together with the law enforcing agencies to develop profiles of the criminals and gather statistics on crime rates so that they could rightly prevent crimes and punish the offenders but in a liberalised manner. In the present time, Criminology has been playing more attention to rehabilitation of offenders through intensive after – care programs.

Since we are living in a modern era, we cannot skip the advancement of scientific knowledge and technology. Although technology has made life easy yet complexities of life has increased greatly due to which patterns of crime has changed. Theft of automobiles, shop lifting, forgery, cheating,smuggling,trafficking,financial scams and scandals, terrorist activities, have become so common these days. Also, crimes that are committed online cannot be ignored like online gambling, hacking, cyber bullying etc. The more the world is advancing, the more criminal acts are increasing.

To tackle all these criminal instances, Criminology as a discipline is of great importance to devise new methods and techniques to solve these problems through scientific research.

The Criminologists keeps themselves acquainted with new criminological developments and work out strategies to deal with intricate problems of life.

In a nutshell,

Criminology helps in reducing crime by understanding the causes behind it.

Criminology helps in understanding the mindsets of the criminals which would help in proper allocation of resources to control crime.

Criminology suggest appropriate measures for rehabilitation of criminals.

Criminology as a discipline should be introduced in every educational institutions to create awareness among students regarding crime. In the present times when every corner of the world is occupied with criminal acts, the importance of Criminology is realized.

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

Movie : The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Director : Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast : Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe
Kazan, Tyne Daly, Harry Melling, and Tom Waits
Genre : Drama, Crime, Comedy, Western anthology

Six interesting, humorous, grim, vile, and mysterious tales set in the post-Civil War West are gripping enough to carry one through the short stories with plenty of mixed emotions about each, with each having a stronger impact than the others. The theme is thoroughly enjoyable for someone who has closely followed and adored the Coen Brothers’ filmography, with their trademark humor, black as tar, and the intrinsically crafted script. Each tale has a distinct plot mood, ranging from sing-alongs to tender romances to harrowing deaths.

The film is wrapped in death, sudden and terrifying, and it’s very lovely. The tales are almost fantastical and similar to folklore, befitting the title of it being a “ballad,” just like the time and place it is set in. The eccentric Buster Scruggs is definitely memorable and entertaining, but the audience must be prepared for the rest, because none of them disappoint, and each tale has a different emotional tone. Each tale varies in length from 10 to 40 minutes, but each one evolves in terms of character and theme just as much as the others.

And it is the director/writer duo’s fun-filled mastery that they do not depart from the storey while also delivering unforgettable characters from each. The Ballad delivers what the Coen Brothers have delivered over the past three decades, masterful storytelling at its finest, from jolly singing to unsettling, and a beautiful ode to the classic westerns while still being a part of them.

ETHNIC CLEANSING

Ethnic cleansing is a premeditated attack done to drive out a specific community of people from a particular area. This means that a place will no longer have any signs of existence of the specific community; the area will no longer have the cultural or physical remains of the community thus effectively ethnically cleansing the area of traces of the specific community. It differs from genocide as the only intention of ethnic cleansing is to push a particular community from the area where genocide aims to completely kill an ethnic community in the area. Ethnic cleansing or forcibly pushing out a community is considered as a crime against humanity and condemned by the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Ethnic cleansing is done using a wide range of inhuman methods such as rape, executions, assaults or unlawful detention or forceful displacement, threatening civilians and attacking civilian population all these crimes are classified as crimes against humanity.


Ethnic cleansing is ideas that rise when nationalist movements with racist ideologies. The term ethnic cleansing was first used during the war in Yugoslavia where Bosnian Muslims were driven out of the country by Bosnian Serbs who claimed the land as their own. There are many examples of ethnic cleansing; the most radical and extreme is the displacement of Jews with culminated in the mass killing of the Jews. The ethnic cleansing of Jews was tied to the final solution proposed by Hitler which says that the true and real solution to the problems faced by the people of Germany was the Jews and the only way to end it was to deport them or kill them in concentration camps. The Tutsi community in the country of Rwanda was also first raped, its civilian population attacked and unlawful detention this later progressed to a genocide where the Tutsis in the country were violently killed. The most recent example is the Rohingya persecution in Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims were forcefully deported from Rakhine State by Myanmar’s military government. The Rohingya Muslims were denied from getting citizenships thus were considered as illegal immigrants and were driven out of the country to Bangladesh.


Ethnic cleansing occurs during a war which later escalates into genocide. At least this is the usual trend. The reason could be a community’s religion, race or colour which is discriminated in an area. It is accompanied by assault, unlawful deportation and attack on civilian population which is against the Geneva Convention and a war crime. The very idea of ethnic cleansing debases a value of human life and disregards every human right which every person regardless of their nationality is entitled to. The entire idea of ethnic cleansing is inhuman and a disgusting taint on humanity. Political parties tend to take advantage over nationalism to create a common enemy where the majority of the population can relate to it. Ethnic cleansing divides an already fragmented population of a country leading to more problems. There should be more stringent rules from the international laws laid down that condemn ethnic cleansing. Monitoring bodies such as the UN must make ethnic cleansing which occurs in various forms must be recognized.

When the Police take matters into their hands…

Police Cars in India (List of all Indian Cop Cars)

On July 10, the Vikas Dubey was killed in an encounter while he was being taken to Kanpur in the custody of UP Special Task Force. The gangster was arrested at a temple in Ujjain just a day before for murder of as many as 8 policemen. To describe the incident, the car which was taking the accused to Kanpur got overturned and Dubey seized the opportunity by snatching the gun from a policeman who was injured in the accident. Afterwards, the man tried to flee but he was killed from the shots fired by the police in retaliation.

The whole story sounds a scene from the movie Singham in which a group of cops can’t stand the injustice anymore and take matters into their hands to bring a politically powerful organisation of gangsters down with the aid of fake encounters. When a person with a criminal record or a terrorist is killed by the police or armed forces without any trial but in self-defence, it is known as encounter killing. Such killing can also be part of a set up in which the police makes it seem like they were helpless and the life of the criminal was compromised in turn.

Something similar happened in Hyderabad in December 2019. Four men who were suspected of raping and killing a female vet were shot dead when they were being taken to the crime scene. The narrative goes like this – the four men had made an attempt to escape by attacking the ten officers that they were in the custody of and not only did they throw stones and sticks but also stole the officers’ gun. The police tried to make them surrender until they were finally killed in retaliatory firing. Justice was served and the police were appreciated for doing their job by the public.

But is it actually the police’s job to do justice or the court’s? The police are only supposed to catch the criminals and present them in court for trial. It is the court’s job to decide whether a criminal gets imprisoned for life, hanged or even figure out whether the accused is guilty and not the police’s. There have been several cases in which the police picks up the wrong person and sometimes they do it deliberately in order to calm the public rage or hide its very incompetence. Innocent people, usually from poor or minority section of the society, are dragged into jail so that the police can protect their image and become a hero in the public’s eyes.

Are the stories of police acting out and killing the suspects or murderers in defense even plausible? The fact that people were even able to get away from the police, let alone steal their guns and the police were not able to stop them. Law enforcement in this country has become more about revenge than justice. It is strange how the accused in so many major cases manage to escape from a large group of policeman and firearms always end up in the hands of arrested persons. An Encounter happens and whether it is real or staged, is subjective. How does police expect people to believe that such encounters are not fake? Because if it wasn’t, then it really says a lot about the competency of the officers assigned to such cases.