The past two nerve-wracking years of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought about immense changes in our lives. In some ways, we’ve seen the human capacity to recover and stay resilient even in the face of unprecedented disasters. Nevertheless, this pandemic helped unveil society’s darker, uglier side in trying times. With fewer people on the streets than ever before, one might imagine that crime rates would be lower than ever. However, lockdowns have, in some ways, had a counterproductive effect, and certain crimes have been spiking during each lockdown.
Understanding the reasons which prompt this increase in crime and the plight of the victims is vital in protecting them and giving them access to resources they can use. Keep reading on if you’re interested in learning more about the various crimes surging throughout the pandemic and how you can safeguard yourself and others around you.
When we think of violence, we think of aggressive acts committed in public, such as an altercation on the streets. However, this fails to recognize that violent acts occur most prevalently behind closed doors. People who seem charming, educated, and refined at work or with friends can be controlling, manipulative, and abusive at home. Domestic violence has spiked immensely with the pandemic because most of us now spend more time at home than ever before.
Escaping domestic violence can be incredibly challenging even in normal circumstances and even more so during a pandemic. Victims of domestic violence can find it harder than ever to reach out to friends and family members who can help during the pandemic. In such cases, domestic violence advocates are vital in helping victims get the help they need. Most domestic violence victims undergo different forms of abuse, such as verbal, sexual, or physical, and can find it challenging to get help. Fortunately, an advocate can help victims attain the resources to escape an abusive situation.
Drug abuse is yet another crime that is rapidly increasing during the pandemic. Various psychological, social, and economic factors contribute to drug abuse. Unfortunately, the pandemic has created a situation where all of these factors entwine, leading to a much higher incidence of drug abuse.
The amount of stress and uncertainty people have experienced during the pandemic has played a huge role in increasing the incidence of drug abuse. Over 81,000 drug abuse cases were registered in May 2020, the highest recorded number in 12 months. Alongside uncertainty, people are also experiencing greater financial instability than ever before, increasing stress and leading to drug abuse. Social isolation, health anxiety, and depression are other factors that can influence drug overuse. Those struggling with mental health disorders and people already using prescription drugs can be at a higher risk of drug abuse.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about immense financial instability, with many people losing out on their jobs. The joblessness during this era has been so profound that many have compared it to the Great Depression. Meanwhile, many established businesses have failed to weather this storm. Supply chain disruptions and storefront closures have led to many businesses collapsing entirely.
Such intense financial instability has led to a rapid increase in theft. The rate of home burglaries decreased, with more people spending time at home. But commercial theft and car theft have rapidly increased. Grocery stores, in particular, have been hit hard, with many incidents of people breaking in for basic goods. Law enforcement officials also believe that car theft has increased because people have left their cars unattended for longer periods than ever before.
As discussed earlier, violent crime has seen a sharp increase during the pandemic, and homicide is no exception. Several factors may have contributed to this increase, including the tensions from the pandemic, financial setbacks, and a vastly changed situation. Homicides have spiked across all regions, regardless of location. Towns, cities, and village areas alike have seen a sharp rise in the murder rates.
Moreover, political instability during the years of the pandemic may also be a contributing factor to the widespread frustration. Tackling the unrest and aggression people feel can be instrumental in reducing the rates of homicide. Offering online mental health services and providing socialization and relief to the most vulnerable populations can be extremely beneficial.
The pandemic has completely revamped the way everyday life operates. A big part of that has included shopping and availing of different services. Most organizations have had to shift their services online to stay afloat. However, the change has come at an unprecedented pace, and most businesses have been unable to protect themselves in cyberspace.
This lack of preparedness means that these businesses have put themselves and their clients at risk of online exploitation. Clients now store more data online than ever before. Insufficient protection means hackers can easily steal sensitive information such as bank details, medical records, property records, passwords, etc. Moreover, businesses have also had their operational details and websites hacked.
Of all the crimes on the rise during the pandemic, sexual abuse has been the most worrying. Many assume that sexual abuse is perpetrated by people outside the home, but research suggests the contrary. Family members and people we are closer to are most often the biggest culprits when it comes to sexual abuse. With global lockdowns in place, many individuals are at risk of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse isn’t just limited to women since men can also fall victims to such heinous acts. Additionally, child sexual abuse has been on the rise since the pandemic began, with children not having the opportunity to seek help. Sexual abuse can be challenging to control, but giving victims and vulnerable populations access to immediate resources and safe zones can help significantly.
The pandemic has undoubtedly been an incredibly uncertain, challenging time. These are just a handful of the crimes that have surged since the pandemic and are the most worrying. However, it is still possible to take measures and raise awareness to keep these crimes from impacting more people negatively. Awareness and preventive measures are indispensable to curbing crimes and lawlessness, especially during unforeseen events.