The British “Guardian” website reported on December 27 that almost a year after the epidemic has raged, crime has obviously not disappeared, but is looking for “new opportunities” brought about by the epidemic.
During the lockdown in many countries this spring, traditional forms of crime such as shop entry or house theft decreased, because shops were closed and people were trapped at home.
Those who insist on traditional criminal activities have adjusted their crime methods: armed robbers in California realized that masks can cover their identities, and two men who robbed the post office in Luton, UK also wore latex gloves. The thief also saw new targets: hospital oxygen cylinders were stolen and charity outlets that distributed food were looted. Although violent crime has decreased in general, a new form of attack emerged during the lockdown: malicious coughing to spread the coronavirus virus.
Another phenomenon that runs counter to the general trend of reduction in violence is increasing domestic violence during and shortly after the lockdown. Such crimes are generally rarely exposed, but some charity organizations have indicated that calls for help have increased significantly.
Sexual assault on children
In addition, children are more likely to be victims of violence, including sexual assaults online and offline. Heather Flo, a forensic psychologist at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, believes that school closures and the lack of other safe places have exacerbated this problem in some countries. Because when parents go out to work, children either stay at home alone (sometimes can surf the Internet at will), or wander in the street.
It is not easy to find data on how the epidemic affects human trafficking, but some experts worry that the actual situation will not be optimistic. And there are signs proving them to be right. Ilias Chatzis from UN Office on Drugs and Crime Affairs, said it was reported that some women who have been sold into prostitution have been abandoned at the destinations without documents or any help.
Drug dealers also had to find ways to cross tighter borders. Nyam Eastwood, head of a drug prevention agency in the United Kingdom, said that facts have proved that the British drug market is very adaptable. Many addicts switch from heroin to benzodiazepines, not because heroin is unavailable, but because income from begging and shoplifting has decreased—and benzodiazepines are cheaper.
Eastwood said: “A pill is less than a bottle of beer.” It is said that drug dealers are selling some substandard products that are difficult to be accepted by drug users under normal circumstances.
As the traditional drug market shrinks, organized criminal gangs have begun to expand their scope, operating protective clothing, medicines and even providing funeral services. They even seized the opportunity of propaganda to extend a helping hand to some areas where the government is not effective in preventing the epidemic to expand their influence.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime said that some Japanese gang members distributed masks and toilet paper for free. Gangs in Cape Town, South Africa even called for a temporary ceasefire to distribute food parcels.
As new illegal markets emerged, the dark web embraced them. Personal protective equipment was initially popular. In March of this year, when the real covid-19 vaccine seemed to be far away, you could buy a so-called vaccine on the black market for a mere $200. Is that sugar water? Is it an experimental vaccine stolen from a laboratory? Or the antibodies collected from COVID-19 patients? No one knows the truth.