Unemployment, economic crisis could trigger spurt in crimes: Criminologists
Not having enough money in hand may force people to commit anti-social activities, say experts
KOCHI: The Kottayam incident in which an aged couple was attacked in their home is just a warning sign as criminologists fear that economic difficulties due to the lockdown could result in a spurt in crimes in the coming days. Though the crime rate has fallen during the lockdown, it could increase in the coming days with the relaxation of lockdown rules and reduction in visible policing from the streets. “It’s a fact that the lockdown and Covid-19 have resulted in an economic crisis, affecting the lives of many. As life returns to normalcy, people have started to feel the heat of shortage of money and the economic difficulties can lead them to commit a crime and other anti-social activities,” said Indian Criminology and Forensic Science Association president and criminologist Febin Baby.
“For all these lockdown days, there have been no extravaganza and liquor. But things have changed with the lifting of many restrictions. People are a frustrated lot after being in lockdown for all these days and they have started to come out to the streets with no money and this could lead to crimes,” he said. Former State Police Chief Jacob Punnoose said unemployment and job loss created by the lockdown could result in a spike in property crimes in the due course of time.
“There will also be anti-social activities like illicit liquor brewing. It is true that the lockdown has witnessed a drop in crimes as people were virtually in a jail-like situation with heavy police presence. Now, with restrictions lifted, life is back to normal. But people have no money or job and its impact on society will start to come through,” he said.
Kochi Range Deputy Inspector General of Police S Kaliraj Mahesh Kumar said the police will assess the ground-level situation and chalk out an appropriate strategy to deal with the rise in crimes. “As far as the Kottayam incident is concerned, we are yet to ascertain the motive behind it. Only after a detailed probe, we will be able to conclude whether it was a burglary attempt or not,” he added. Criminologists also warn that face masks, which have become a part of life as a Covid safety protocol, would come in handy for criminals to commit street crimes like chain snatching and robberies.
Cops to assess situation, chalk out tactics to deal with rise in crimes