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Prevalence of Crimes in the Covid-19 Pandemic: Bangladesh and Global Perspectives



Over the span of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than eighteen million cases have been reported worldwide and the virus continues to affect populations globally. While attempting to adapt to the rapidly changing environment, groups have been taking advantage of the new social context that the pandemic created. Criminals, for instance, gained an opportunity to maximize profits. With a qualitative lens, and knowledge derived from secondary sources, the paper depicts the evolving global and Bangladeshi criminal landscape during the 21st century. During the pandemic, sudden social change, unemployment and limited resources plunged people into a cycle of misery. The new environment affected traditional crime patterns, and new types of crimes emerged. The paper emphasizes on how the pandemic expanded criminal opportunities in Bangladesh and worldwide.
Prevalence of Crimes in the Covid-19 Pandemic:
Bangladesh and Global Perspectives
A. B. M. Najmus Sakib1
Md. Rezaul Karim Shohag2
Over the span of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than eighteen
million cases have been reported worldwide and the virus
continues to aect populations globally. While attempting to
adapt to the rapidly changing environment, groups have been
taking advantage of the new social context that the pandemic
created. Criminals, for instance, gained an opportunity to
maximize prots. With a qualitative lens, and knowledge
derived from secondary sources, the paper depicts the
evolving global and Bangladeshi criminal landscape during
the 21st century. During the pandemic, sudden social change,
unemployment and limited resources plunged people into
a cycle of misery. The new environment aected traditional
crime patterns, and new types of crimes emerged. The
paper emphasizes on how the pandemic expanded criminal
opportunities in Bangladesh and worldwide.
Keywords: Violent crime, Property crime, Cybercrime,
Transnational crime, Wildlife crime, Hate crime
The global population has been aected by the Covid-19 pandemic, regardless
of location. It has had a remarkable impact on various groups of people and
brings existing inequalities to the forefront of discussion. In addition to a
high death rate, the pandemic had devastating nancial eects on vulnerable
populations, including the elderly, women, children, and people of dierent
ethnicities. The beginning of Covid-19 profoundly aected emotions of
people, inuenced the actions of law-abiding citizens and criminals alike. Due
Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Dhaka. Email:
2 Lecturer, Department of Criminology, University of Dhaka. Email:
Prevalence of Crimes
Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue,
108 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
to the pandemic, numerous lives, economic activities, and the foundations of
human existence were lost. Even though more people stayed at home, criminal
activities increased simultaneously. Because of the oences associated with
Covid-19, social orders and security organizations faced several diculties.
If we take a look at signicant scenes in the global arena, cities such as Vancouver
saw an increase in violent crime, assault, arson, robbery, and theft as a result of
the popularity of Corona, with assault, robbery, and mischief being particularly
prevalent (Bula, 2022). During the Covid period, hate crimes against Asians
in London increased by almost 180%. In March-April 2020, there were over
20,000 racial hate crimes, a 15 percent increase from the previous year (France,
2021). In addition, violence and rape against women increased signicantly
in England since the outbreak began. It can be understood by the increasing
number of victims who le complaints; given that the domestic abuse growth
rate is seven and the number of cases exceeded seven million. Also, the rate
of rape cases was higher than that of other sexual oences, which was 37%.
According to a study, approximately 17,300 rape-related crimes were reported
between April and June (Syal, 2021). During the pandemic, it is also important
to note that the rate of organized crime is signicant. From the Western Balkans
and Pakistan, it spread to Korea and Italy. Criminal organizations frequently
chose fragile states such as Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon as their crime hubs
(Global Initiative, 2020). The epidemic pushed approximately 100 million
people into poverty, resulting in unemployment and disparity among the
population (Pandey, 2021).
This study seeks to identify and analyze the scenario of crimes committed
during Covid-19 in Bangladeshi society and around the globe.
The research objectives:
To discuss the various crimes that occurred during the pandemic
To determine whether the changing circumstances led to the emergence
of new crimes
First, the study presents Covid-19 related facts and information; the
methodology is then discussed. The third section presents the theoretical
framework and the fourth outlines crime typologies assessing why certain
crimes occurred more frequently during pandemic. Lastly, the article examines
factual data which is used as the basis for evaluation and interpretation.
Prevalence of Crimes
The interpretation and comprehension of a particular form of content is the
primary emphasis of the qualitative content analysis technique. This paper
employs the qualitative methodology and secondary sources of information to
collect data. Researchers analyzed oences that occurred from March 2020
to the present during the Covid-19 era both in Bangladesh and globally. The
study’s concepts were gathered from various sources, such as books, journal
articles, academic literature, newspapers, published research documents,
magazine articles, reports, the media, and related websites. Additionally, they
checked several academic internet databases for authentic reports. Considering
the typology of Covid-19 crimes, the data were classied into four major
groups. These categories are violent, property, transnational, and cyber crimes.
Subsequently, the sub-sections were illustrated using references to the situation
in Bangladesh and worldwide. Even though it is desk work, it is nevertheless
important since it maintains the reliability and validity of the study by gathering
data from credible sources and academic works that are scholarly in nature.
Theoretical framework
Crime is frequently inuenced by dierences in our daily lives. When an
opportunity to commit a crime presents itself, the crime is organized. People’s
social circumstances, such as poverty, unemployment, etc., assist them in
committing crimes. During the Covid-19, the variability of a few specic
crimes increased. People were conned to their homes, which signicantly
impacted their lives. Although street crime decreased, domestic violence
increased due to its forced relocation inside the home. During the pandemic,
there were numerous changes in burglary, trespassing, and other crimes
(Felson, Jiang & Xu, 2020).
The study examined the routine activity theory, the rumor and conspiracy
theory, and the crime pattern theory since these theories adequately describe the
Covid-19 criminal situation in some way or another. The Cohen and Felson’s
(1979) Routine activity theory, according to which crime is inevitable when three
essential components are present. These are a motivated oender, a suitable target,
and the absence of a capable guardian. It combines aspects of normal behavior
with other situational criminological theories and focuses on how criminals may
encounter opportunities for crime in their daily lives. Crime magnets are areas
that attract motivated oenders because they provide opportunities for criminal
activity. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was observed that many crimes were
committed due to the incompetence of responsible supervision.
110 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
The researchers also investigated dierent gossip bits, such as taking on
warm socks, consuming garlic and using goose lard on one’s chest to treat the
conceivably deadly infection. In order to accomplish a concealed purpose that
is widely regarded as being illegal or evil, multiple actors get together in secret
accord (Zonis & Joseph, 1994). Conspiracy theories considered the deadly virus
as a bio-weapon subsidized by Bill Gates for other immunization deals (Silk,
2020). From that point of view, many rumors surfaced about the conspiracy
against an individual or company. It is clear that there were some groups (likely
oenders) who were taking the benet by using the suitable target.
Crime will happen if a region gives a chance for crime and it exists inside a
criminal’s mindfulness space. An oender and a victim or target can materialize
when the action spaces of both run into each other. The idea of crime pattern
theory elucidates the way oenders nd out a suitable target from a specic
zone or place (Brantingham & Brantingham, 2008). The pandemic situation
forced people to restrict themselves in the area they lived in. The crime pattern
theory likewise predicts where certain crimes may happen. For example, we
can say that during the lockdown, the demand for face masks, hand sanitizer,
and PPE was high. So many people tried to sell fake masks and provide false
information on dierent social media sites. The theoretical framework of the
paper portrayed below in Figure 1.
Prevalence of Crimes
Motivated Offender
Suitable Target
Lack of Guardianship
-Fake news
-Fabricated information
-Online users
-Less educated
-Suffering from trauma
-Familiar person
-Economic gain
-Specific location
--Curious mind
-Unauthorized server
Routine Activity theory
Rumors and
Conspiracy theory
Significant crimes during Covid-19
Violent Crime
-Assault on minority
-Hate crime
-Domestic Violence
--Theft & vehicle theft
-Women trafficking
-Organized crime
-Drug smuggling
-Wildlife trafficking
-Scamming &
-Fake news &
-Online fraud
-Online gambling
-Ransomware and
malware campaigns
Property Crime Transnational
Cyber Crime
Crime Pattern
Figure 1: Theoretical Framework of the Paper (Cohen & Felson; Zonis & Joseph,
1994 & Brantingham & Brantingham, 2008).
Types of Crimes committed during Covid-19
Globally, lockdowns and isolations imposed in response to the Covid-19 virus
had ramications for daily life. Surprisingly, a vast majority of the consequences
of the pandemic and its aftermath had been overwhelmingly negative–
112 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
increasing death toll; work misfortunes, unemployment, and an impending
global nancial crisis were among the most frequently cited problems in the
world. From this perspective, it is clear that many newer versions of crimes
occurred during the pandemic. A local perspective in the case of Bangladesh
provides a close-view into the comprehension of the situation alongside the
global scene.
• Violent Crimes
Violent crimes cover an assortment of oences going from regular attacks
to killing. Such oences likewise include using weapons, for example, guns,
knives and destructive substances. During the pandemic, by the issue of George
Floyd’s demise in Minneapolis police care, violent crime was high in dierent
states of the USA (Al Jazeera, 2020). However, researchers identied robbery,
assaults on members of minority groups, hate crimes, and domestic violence
as signicant forms of criminal activity that occurred during the pandemic.
Robbery stands out among the numerous violent crimes reported during the
pandemic. Even though many crimes went unreported during the epidemic, the
number of reported crimes increased dramatically. According to the Bangladesh
Police Headquarters, there were over 900 robberies in 2020. A recent case
was the robbery of Sonali Bank in the Chuadanga district of Bangladesh, in
which every perpetrator was well-equipped and nine lacs taka were stolen.
Criminologists and security experts concurred that the rise in unemployment,
frustration, and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic compelled them to
commit this crime (Islam, 2021). While the theft rate increased in Bangladesh,
it decreased globally (Meyer, Hassafy, Lewis, Shrestha, Haviland & Nagin,
Assault on Minorities
Assaults on minorities are a common occurrence in both Asia and Europe;
during the pandemic, it only increased and was highlighted across the world.
During the lockdown in April and May 2021, there were thirty brutal incidents
involving minority individuals in Bangladesh. On May 15, ten Hindu families’
homes were vandalized (The Daily Star, 2020). The condition of minorities
in various South Asian nations deteriorated between 2019 and the beginning
of 2020. Many Europeans believed that they were losing their jobs due to
immigration. In the pandemic, there was an increase in the number of hateful
and divisive conversations centered on savagery against minorities as well as
persistent nancial prohibition (Minority Rights Groups, 2020).
Prevalence of Crimes
Attacks and boycotts were witnessed as a result of falsely blaming Muslim
gatherings at various sacred sites. The man named Mehboob Ali was brutally
assaulted and dragged to a eld within the city of Harewali, India. Sayed
Tabrez (23), and his mother, Zareen Taj (39), were among seven Muslim
volunteers whom a group of local BJP members assaulted on April 4 and 6 as
they attempted to distribute food to displaced people in the Marathahalli and
Dasarahalli areas of Karnataka, India (Petersen & Rahman, 2020).
Hate Crime
Hate crime is a criminal act, including savage crime, such as harassment, re-
related crime, defacement, assault, or threats to execute such violations against
an individual or his/her property because of their real or perceived race, color,
national origin, inadequate religion, ethnicity, sex, or sexual orientation. As a
result of the pandemic, there was an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, which
may be attributed to a rise in prejudice and the normalization of xenophobia,
fear of strangers, and weakness. Asian-Americans have been victims of real
acts of prejudice and harassment (Gover, Harper & Langton, 2020). During the
pandemic, rising statistics indicated increased hate crimes, particularly against
Chinese and East Asian minorities. Dierent reports and police data from
the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States reveal these shocking
increases in hate crimes against East Asian minorities (Luthra & Nandi,
2020). During the rst three months of 2020, Chinese minorities in the United
Kingdom reported 267 incidents of hate crimes, compared to 375 incidents for
the entire year of 2019 (Luthra & Nandi, 2020).
Moreover, as of January 2020, cases were reported of enduring racial blaming
towards numerous Asian Americans, unjust work environment end, being
spat on, actual savagery, outrageous physical distancing, and so forth because
of defaming and blaming Asians for the spread of Covid-19 by media and
government authorities (Croucher, Nguyen & Rahmani, 2020). In addition, in
our neighboring country Sri Lanka, the public authority blamed the pandemic
for criticizing Muslims and spreading Islamophobia. India’s administration
highlighted the Covid-19 pandemic as a chance to twofold its current
Islamophobic arrangements (Suleiman, 2020). Several incidents have been
accounted for in which Christians and Hindus were denied food apportions
in Pakistan (Joshi & Joshi, 2020). In Bangladesh, at least 17 individuals were
slaughtered in sectarian viciousness during the Covid-19 pandemic (Hussain,
As indicated by recent studies, hate crimes against east and Southeast Asians
were seen to increase. In April, around 261 hate crimes were committed against
114 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
Asians, increasing to 323 in May, 395 in June, and 381 in July (Townsend &
Iqbal, 2020). As a result of neighbors’ intimidating behavior during lockdowns,
the number of people seeking assistance increased by 62% by midyear.
Sexual orientation-related crimes dramatically increased, and ethnicity- and
race-related crimes were also prevalent (Binding, 2020). Nearly 2,100 anti-
Asian American hate crime scenes, including verbal ambushes, physical
assaults, workplace segregation, and online incitement, were identied by
Covid-19 across the country (Donaghue, 2020). Political and social outcomes
of the current response to the pandemic are likely to increase xenophobic,
racist attitudes and hate crimes, particularly against Chinese and East Asian
minorities, due to a misunderstanding of the nancial crisis (Luthra & Nandi,
2020). It accurately depicts the situation of the potential oender.
Domestic Violence
According to multiple reports, many women encountered unexpectedly
aggressive behavior at home as a result of the lockdown. Nationally, during
Covid-19, domestic and dowry-related violence increased by approximately
2%. There were 228 residential and dowry-related violence incidents during
the Covid-19 pandemic, compared to 224 during the pre-Covid-19 era.
According to the Bangladesh Peace Observatory (BPO), more than 200
women were murdered from January to July 2020 (The Financial Express,
2020). According to Ain-O-Salish Kendra (ASK), 235 women were murdered
by their husbands or partners’ families in the rst nine months of 2020
(Rahman, 2020). It rendered women and children more defenseless against
domestic aggression (Deutsche Welle, 2020). As per Action Aid Bangladesh,
violence against women, particularly aggressive behavior at home, increased
signicantly during the lockdown period. In 2020, the number increases by
59% in Italy, 700% in Nigeria, 700% in Palestine, and 983% in Bangladesh
compared to 2019.
• Property Crimes
Property crimes consist of criminal oences when the person is not directly
aected or injured, but the individual’s property is damaged. Theft, shoplifting,
and burglary are notable instances of property-related crimes (Buam, 2020).
Remarkably, property-related oences decreased in the rst lockdown phase
and increased again after the lockdown was over (UNODC, 2020). However,
organized property crime is additionally on the rise. The report noted a few
cases where medical facilities and pharmacies were progressively focused
on meeting the black market need for drugs and other clinical supplies and
equipment (Meyer, 2021). There was a 22% expansion in calls for service and
Prevalence of Crimes
a 25% expansion in property crime (Buam, 2020). Likely oenders always
seek for a reasonable opportunity to commit a crime. During the pandemic,
there were many instances of not presenting the legal guardian in their
respective places, and then the oenders made the opportunity to commit such
crimes. From that point, it can be easily said that property-related crimes were
perpetrated in dierent places because of the absence of proper guidance. The
researchers focused on the following types of signicant property crimes that
occurred in Covid-19.
While the phenomenon was not overtly eminent nationally, since the start
of the Covid-19 nancial crisis, shoplifting in the United States increased
signicantly. According to interviews with dozens of retailers, police
departments, and security experts across the nation, the main target of the
oender was more staples such as bread, pasta, and infant formula (Bhattarai &
Denham, 2020). According to a study conducted by the Census Bureau in late
October and early November, one in eight U.S. adults (in excess of 25 million)
reported that they required more food to eat within the past week (Pomranz,
2020). Forty percent of businessmen report an increase in shoplifting since the
start of the Covid-19 (Beer, 2020).
Burglary is a distressing oence that can leave victims feeling victimized
in their own homes. It is a violation of ownership and residence. During
lockdown, there were numerous instances of burglary in Bangladesh, Britain
and India. In Bangladesh, 137 cases of burglary and theft were documented.
From January to March, 183 instances of theft and burglary were detected
(Islam, 2020). As a result of the pandemic, many non-essential goods were
inspected, and their owners were forced to remain at home. Due to the absence
of a guardian, potential oenders exploited the opening, identied the proper
target, and committed burglary.
For example, a burglary occurred in Bandipora, North Kashmir, at the deserted
home of a Covid-19 patient, whose entire family was quarantined in a clinic;
the thieves made o with Rs 3 lakh in cash and other valuables (Majid, 2020).
Unknown individuals broke into a locked home in Hyderabad that belonged
to a Covid-19-positive benefactor and stole gold and other assets. A few days
prior to their return, the advocate’s family discovered they had been robbed
while quarantined for an extended period (The New Indian Express, 2020).
116 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
Theft and Vehicle Theft
The rate of theft and vehicle theft was reduced because people were not
permitted outside unless there was an emergency. However, more than nine
thousand thefts were reported in Bangladesh during the year of 2018 according
to police records. In 2019, it exceeded the previous records (Islam, 2021). Due
to the social deterioration, it has risen dramatically.
In comparison to global reduction of theft, vehicle-related crimes increased
following the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Merseyside police
department, vehicle theft reports increased from 1738 to 2471 in the year
following a major pandemic. Similarly, the number of reported cases in
Manchester, United Kingdom, increased from 6,220 to 7,737 (Farnworth,
• Transnational Crime
Transnational crime is dened by criminal activity occurring in multiple
nations. With the development of advanced technology, it becomes easier
for criminals to commit crimes. They can quickly ee from one country to
another to maintain anonymity and hierarchy. From this perspective, they plan
and execute crimes in various countries. Drug-related crime, organized crime,
women and drug tracking were all mentioned during the pandemic even if
not as much from a national perspective.
Current forms of slavery, such as sex tracking, unlawful recruitment, child
sex tracking, fortied labor or obligation servitude, domestic servitude,
forced labor, use of child troopers, and forced child labor, are also on the
rise (Quinley, 2020). According to estimates by the United Nations, there are
approximately 40 million victims of modern-day slavery across the globe.
Existing Covid-19 dangers threaten to force a large number of men, women,
and children into modern forms of slavery and other forms of deprivation
unless governments act immediately to protect them (Bhuiyan, 2020).
Around 72% of all victims of human tracking worldwide are women and
girls. Among them, almost 77% of female victims are tracked for sexual
exploitation (Regnér, 2020). Almost 60% of human tracking victims are
women and girls (Ali, 2020). Due to the pandemic, an additional 47 million
women and girls faced poverty, which put them at risk for tracking. As a
result of the pandemic, it was possible for perpetrators who had been awaiting
Prevalence of Crimes
the opportunity for days to act. Due to women’s nancial, employment, and
other vulnerabilities, oenders got the opportunity easily.
Human rights organization records a 185% increase in human tracking
cases during the Covid-19 (Blake, Grant & Nitz, 2020). The pandemic had
immediate and severe eects on women in the sex trade, who are among
the most vulnerable women on earth. In the absence of food, shelter, and
medical care, their risk of contracting Covid -19 increases (Farley, 2020). The
Covid-19 worsened the predicaments of numerous sex workers who are single
parents and have already been impoverished by severe measures (Shehadi &
Partington, 2020).
As a result of the expansion of Covid-19, people have been subjected to
unprecedented levels of unemployment, damage to employment, and shaky
nancial conditions, which have made them poorer. For survival, those in
disadvantaged circumstances were subjected to forced labor, servitude, or
other modern forms of subjugation (Bhuiyan, 2020). It has weakened the
global population nancially and sex labor is no exception. Many former sex
workers returned to their jobs due to the pandemic. Again others have entered
the eld in a new way. Many sex workers must now accept much lower wages,
more signicant risks, or both to keep the market aoat (Yasseri, 2021).
The increment in women tracking expanded to newer horizons with the
aid of the pandemic. Since the release of Covid-19, approximately 66% of
frontline tracking workers were recruited online by trackers and forced
to produce online pornography by tracked women and girls (Regnér, 2020).
Covid-19 hence accelerated new patterns of online selection of women and
girls by trackers, whereas their traditional systems are limited (Cook, 2020).
Organized Crime
During the covid period, numerous organized criminal groups attempted to
carry out their criminal activities. They targeted numerous heinous crimes such
as robbery, drug abuse, and fraud. Occasionally, they target medically-related
objects. They communicate with one another via social media. In Canada,
organized criminal groups are altering their illegal assignments to the Covid-19
and they attempted to create fear and deceit among the vulnerable population.
In many cases, they were successful. Since the beginning of March, Canadians
lost $1.8M to fraudsters, an organized crime in which at least three or more
criminals collaborated. Some were permanent or temporary coalitions formed
to accomplish a particular criminal act. Their violations ranged from extortion
and identity theft to managing rearms, drugs, and people (Fitzpatrick, 2020).
118 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
Organized oenders took advantage of the deception and fear inside social orders
by oering fake therapeutic items online (Kennedy & Paul, 2020; Mazzolani,
2020). Interpol cautioned its 194 part nations to be highly cautious of organized
wrongdoing systems endeavoring to penetrate supply chains to urge their hands
on the immunization through fake websites and wrong cures (Reinstein, 2020).
On the other side, organized oenders abused the Covid-19 emergency to
dispatch phenomenal sums of drugs into the EU (Gallagher, 2020).
Smuggling of Drugs
The illegal drug trade is believed to be directly associated with heinous crimes
which increased during the lockdown. Using smuggled drugs, trackers sought
alternative routes, such as the oceanic route, to transport illicit substances.
During that time, benzodiazepine use, intravenous drug administration, and
the sharing of infusion equipment were prevalent (UNODC, 2020). The
prevalence of drug use was high in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam,
and Bangladesh (Rabbi, 2020). From the Golden Triangle to the Golden
Crescent, the Golden Age of India to the Golden Village of Bangladesh, these
regions are known as the centre of the drug trade.
In Bangladesh, Yaba, Heroin, and phensedyl were transported in various food
and other product containers. In April, Cox’s Bazar DB police arrested three
individuals with 20,000 pieces of Yaba in an emergency vehicle from Interface
Street on Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Street. On June 9, RAB seized 150 bottles of
phensedyl that had been hidden in mangoes, and a sub-inspector (SI) was
caught with 11,000 pieces of Yaba in the capital’s Mohammadpur. According
to the police headquarters, 7,623 opiate cases were reported in March, 1,639
in April, and 2,460 in May. Based on these ndings, it has been assumed that
drug use during the lockdown period was excessive (Rabbi, 2020). Since
November, 2020 the BGB has recovered more than six lacs of Yaba tablets
along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and captured at least ten suspected
perpetrators, as indicated by the border force.
Elsewhere, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam had high rates of
drug use during the pandemic. Thai specialists reported that 1.42 metric
tons of precious stone meth were prevented from entering Malaysia. In
May, Myanmar authorities announced Asia’s largest drug bust in decades,
seizing 200 million meth pills and 500 kilograms of ice, 35.5 metric tons
and 163,000 liters of precursor chemicals and 33 suspects (Peter, 2020). On
July 1, 2020, Italian police made the world’s largest amphetamine seizure
(Kupatadze, 2020).
Prevalence of Crimes
Based on the information mentioned above, it can be concluded that drug
dealing criminals have signicantly increased their activities. They targeted
border regions to conduct business. During the Corona era, when law
enforcement agencies engaged in various activities; drug dealers also increased
their criminal activity due to the presence of criminogenic substances, the
availability of suitable targets, and the absence of appropriate guardians.
During the lockdown, wildlife-related crimes rose. In the rst nine months of
the pandemic, China prosecuted over fteen thousand individuals for natural
life-related oences, 66% more than in 2019. Seven thousand of the total arrests
involved the violation of shing limits. Four thousand people were arrested
for illegal hunting and 3,000 for illegally purchasing, selling, or transporting
endangered wild animal products (Reuters, 2020).
It is well known that Pangolin products have been used in traditional
Chinese medicine to treat various infections for millennia. The sale of these
products increased following the pandemic. From 2014 to 2018, its rescue
operations increased tenfold due to high demand. While the pandemic spread
kept increasing, the wildlife industry expanded (The Dhaka Tribune, 2020).
During the pandemic, when the mortality rate and health risks skyrocketed,
it became crucial to improve its treatment. As a result, the probable oender
began hunting wild animals, which were used directly and indirectly in various
medical treatments.
• Cyber Crimes
We live in an age of science, which makes life easier and more accessible to
people worldwide. It is comparable to the village known as the global village.
People communicate through technological means. On the contrary, many
individuals misuse technology from time to time and in various locations.
Cybercrime is among these which are increasing daily. Cybercrimes are
criminal oences using a network-connected device, such as a computer or
a mobile phone. Cybercriminals or cyber terrorists are the individuals who
commit cybercrime.
Throughout the pandemic, it exploded. At the height of the pandemic,
cybercrime had multiplied by a 6,000% increase in Covid-19-related spam
(Tett, 2020). Criminals immediately exploited the time of Covid-19 to attack
defenseless people through online scams, phishing, and the spread of false
news, which became an ideal method for cybercriminals attempting to sell
products that they claim, would prevent or cure Covid-19 (Klein, 2020)
120 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
Around 111 cyber-related cases were led in Bangladeshi courts in the rst
three months before the court closed in April due to the spread of the Covid-19.
From April to June, police headquarters in Dhaka recorded an additional 108
cybercrime cases, according to the registrar of the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate’s Court. According to the report, 68% of cybercrime victims are
women. Around 80% of cybercrime victims do not report incidents to law
enforcement agencies, and 63% of victims do not know where to look for
assistance. Among those who did seek legal assistance, 73.1% did not receive
satisfactory results, according to the report (Tipu, 2020). There has also been
more Internet fraud, phishing, data theft, malware that causes problems, and
malicious domains (Ayling, 2020).
Scamming and Phishing
Scammers use fake emails or SMS to access sensitive personal information
such as account numbers, login IDs, and passwords/PINs. Hackers use
phishing messages to gain access to a computer or organization. Clicking on
a link enables them to install ransomware or other programmes that can lock
the computer and reveal its data. Scammers use legitimate company names or
pose as well-known individuals (Kabir, 2020).
There are lots of criteria for scammers to commit online frauds which were
commonplace during the pandemic. Scammers advertised on providing several
grants, building Covid-19 relief funds, council tax reduction, diagnosed with
Covid-19, free hand sanitizer and face masks etc. They also provided messages
regarding TV Authorizing, telling individuals they qualied for six months
without charge since the pandemic, upgrading their TV membership services,
and false proles on social media destinations (Read, 2020).
Fraudsters use phishing and content messages to obtain victims’ personal
information, bank account information, and passwords. Generally, phishing
attempts originate from what appear to be legitimate sources, persuading recipients
to click on a link or respond with required personal information. Concerning
the pandemic, phishing attempts launched under the guise of government
departments, health professionals, etc. (Cross, 2020; Patterson, 2020).
During the pandemic, a large number of frauds were observed such as antibody-
related treatment scams (publicizing fake cures, vaccines), shopping scams
(creating false stores, e-commerce websites, social media accounts), medical
scams (Scammers may call and email individuals pretending to be doctors and
clinics), charity scams (asking for donations for individuals), phishing and malware
scams (stealing access to a computer or stealing credentials), and App scams
Prevalence of Crimes
(e.g. creating mobile apps designed to track the spread of Covid-19). Scammers
also used ‘robocalls’ or ‘telemarketing’ agents to promote everything from fake
Covid-19 treatments to work-from-home money-making schemes (Kabir, 2020).
Fake News and Misinformation
It is known that bad news spreads quickly. According to this perspective,
widespread misinformation and fake news were prevalent during the pandemic.
If, for instance, news spread that Bill Gates created or nanced the arrangement
for Covid-19 to oer immunizations in order to gain global control. Dierent
instances of false news during the pandemics included conspiracy theorists
speculating that majority ruling governments were blaming the disease for
converting their frameworks into absolutes, where 5G was blamed for the
spread of the Covid-19, according to the report (Sheth, 2020).
Criminals posted false advertisements for medicines, test kits, and hygiene products.
Numerous websites claimed to sell Covid-19 medications, tests, and antibodies.
Eight hundred people perished as a result of drinking alcohol in an attempt to avoid
infection based on false information. Due to the pandemic, many radicalizers and
their followers had ample time to spend on the Internet and entered the modern
world fully. It allowed fanatical groups to communicate with individuals.
Online Fraud
The Covid-19 pandemic redirected many consumers to online shopping,
facilitating the spread of counterfeit goods. Numerous complaints against
commercial internet centers were accumulated, including selling low-quality
items, complicated and delayed discounts, and counterfeit goods. Customers
were deceived on numerous social media platforms, including Facebook and
web-based purchasing pages (Irani, 2020). This study provided examples
of how the crime cycle achieves its appropriate objectives by entrapping
individuals during a pandemic. During the pandemic, counterfeiting also
became widespread. These were unambiguously linked to the Covid-19
pandemic, to which they have been added (Europol, 2022). Since March 2020,
more than 34,000 forged surgical masks have been seized as part of various
law enforcement operations worldwide (Tass, 2020).
Online Gambling
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, online gaming and gambling dependencies
have risen signicantly. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that more
than three lacs were aected by gambling addiction. Approximately one
hundred sixty thousand Australians were inuenced by gambling. During the
122 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
lockdowns, Spain, Belgium, and Latvia have imposed a few restrictions on
online gambling to combat addiction. During the Covid-19 period, a bunch of
groups found in casinos and sports elds across the country were immediately
identied as potential outbreak sites. Recently, Belgian betting specialists
imposed a weekly limit of €500 on locally-facilitated regions.
The Spanish government limited advertising restrictions to a four-hour
window between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and Latvia prohibited internet gambling
until Covid-19 restrictions were lifted (Pearson, 2020). As evidenced by
the preceding example, they (the gamblers) developed a criminally inclined
online community. They are accustomed to online gambling and send links
to strangers where they look for various opportunities. Sometimes they stole
money, and sometimes they associated with various individuals.
Ransomware and Malware Campaigns
During the pandemic, numerous medical care organizations were attacked
by ransomware. Various ransomware attacks targeted clinics and hospitals.
Despite this, numerous renowned organizations, such as Jack Daniels, Garmin,
and the Ritz London, were aected by ransomware. In addition, the University
of California, San Francisco, defense contractor Communications, Power
Industries (CPI) in California, and Travelex paid ransom demands in millions
of dollars in 2020, according to the report (Sheth, 2020). Because of Covid-19,
71% of cyber security worldwide is more concerned about ransomware attacks
(Help Net Security, 2020).
On the internet and social media such as on Facebook, Twitter, and online
publications, people encountered stigma, rumors, and conspiracy theories
concerning the corona virus (Silk, 2020). In the United Kingdom, the gross
betting yield (GGY) for e-sports betting increased by 2,992% to just over £1.5
million from March 2019 to March 2020, growing by 124% in April and then
by 36% to £4.2 million in May (Mak, 2020). Adware was the most prevalent
malware for Android devices in 2020, accounting for nearly 50% of malware
in the rst quarter, 27% in the second quarter, and 29%in the third quarter of
all Android threats (Sheth, 2020).
As the number of people infected with Covid-19 continued to increase in the
real world, malicious cyber campaigns such as spam messages, phishing,
malware, ransomware, and malicious domains that use the disease as a trap
also increase in the virtual world. Google reports that its Gmail administration
has identied over 100 million phishing emails and 18 million daily malware
identied with Covid-19 (Kabir, 2020).
Prevalence of Crimes
This study demonstrates a great deal of crime during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Newer patterns of crime like cyber-related crimes (e.g. online fraud, scam,
phishing, misinformation, fake news, the rise of ransomware, Online
Gambling), drug smuggling, hate crime, assault on minorities, domestic
violence, wildlife and women tracking, sex-related crime, slavery, etc.
skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic time. Overall, particular patterns
were observed for crimes that were committed online and violent crimes. For
the former, the study recorded an increase and larger frequencies over the
period of the pandemic. Criminals waited online for opportunities. Likewise, as
discussed above (appropriate target), online criminals took advantage of every
opportunity they desired. Despite the rise of social media and its accessibility,
social media misuse has not stopped. Even though the pandemic is spreading,
rumors, misinformation, and fake news are on the rise. During the pandemic,
the rate of cybercrime increased dramatically.
For the latter, there was a signicant increase in violent crime, with a focus
on domestic violence. The two patterns and trends observed for the two
categories of crime were more or less consistent globally. Even though the
statistics claimed a signicant decrease in the overall number of crimes, the
specic crimes mentioned above were signicantly rising.
When many people are aected by job loss, nancial instability, or work
fragility, they are forced to remain at home, leading to stress, anger, and
frustration. Frustrated people frequently vent their anger on the most vulnerable
family members, such as children, spouses, and elderly parents (The Business
Standard, 2020). As a result, unemployment makes it easier for people to be
criminogenic, which is consistent with the likely oender theory of routine
activity. When people are aicted with a variety of problems due to the
epidemic, criminals look for opportunities to commit crimes in various other
settings, including medical, online, and retail. During the pandemic, individuals
became susceptible to domestic violence and cybercrimes, especially fraud,
misinformation, fake news, shoplifting, gambling, and counterfeiting, among
other crimes. During the pandemic, the number of hate crimes committed
against Asians increased, from 261 in April to 323 in May, 395 in June, and
381 in July (Townsend & Iqbal, 2020). As a matter of assault on minority,
Hindus are aected in Bangladesh and Pakistan in which they were deprived
of basic needs and vandalized (Republic world, 2020; The Daily Star, 2020).
On the contrary, conventional Muslims were harassed in India and Srilanka
(Kapur, 2020; Nazeer, 2020). In addition, Gambling in UK, Australia, Spain,
Belgium, Latvia etc. went high.
124 Perspectives in Social Science Vol.16, July 2020, Special Issue
Violent crime increased after the lockdown, and it has been seen that the
expansion of violence was more among younger males. In Bangladesh,
juvenile delinquency such as extortion, pilferage and drug abuse, especially
snorting Yaba, are often seen (Suan, 2020). The pandemic added elements
to the list. Several newly formed Juvenile gang members were being engaged
in drug addiction and business, harassing women and often in clashes and
altercation in the areas and even the incidents of murder and rape are often
happening (Nuruzzaman, 2020).
With emphasis on the Bangladesh context, there were similarities with the global
context in terms of the rise of crimes online and violent crime that occurred
within the households. With a drastic shift in consumer behavior depending on
online shopping as well as online based transactions, such crimes saw a rise.
Consequently, there was a fall in property crime over the rst few months of the
pandemic as the shift in consumer behavior ensued. With regard to domestic
abuse, the same reection can be made. There was an overall increase in cases
reported by non-government organizations signalling the shadow pandemic
which took place not only within Bangladesh but globally as well.
Criminals have the motivation to commit a crime; they always seek suitable
opportunity, and the absence of a responsible guardian allows them to proceed
to their goal. As a result of the pandemic, many easy targets for the crime
were created when many people stayed at home and stayed o the roads. The
atmosphere of dread and vulnerability caused by the pandemic contributed to the
aggravation of everyday circumstances and the initiation of various types of crime
and oenders. Activities such as social distancing, restricted travel, sheltering
in place, and eliminating key neighborhood assets are likely to substantially
increase the risk of various crimes (Usher et al., 2020). Europol (2020) warns
that businesses and clinics are potential targets for organized burglaries.
Interpol cautioned member states to bolster their eorts in light of a potential
resurgence of organized crime due to the increase in Covid-19 vaccinations.
Therefore, governments and policymakers should make mindfulness about an
expanded danger of violations during pandemic and feature the requirement
for individuals to stay in contact with one another (Usher et al, 2020).
Maintaining social connectedness is a signicant issue during the time of
epidemic. Improving wellbeing, forestalling crimes and connecting each other
are very important to improve the current situation.
Prevalence of Crimes
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Full-text available
We estimate changes in the rates of five FBI Part 1 crimes during the 2020 spring COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period and the period after the killing of George Floyd through December 2020. We use weekly crime rate data from 28 of the 70 largest cities in the U.S. from January 2018 through December 2020. Homicide rates were higher throughout 2020, including during early 2020 prior to March lockdowns. Auto thefts increased significantly during the summer and remainder of 2020. In contrast, robbery and larceny significantly declined during all three post-pandemic periods. Point estimates of burglary rates pointed to a decline for all four periods of 2020, but only the pre-pandemic period was statistically significant. We construct a city-level openness index to examine whether the degree of openness just prior to and during the lockdowns was associated with changing crime rates. Larceny and robbery rates both had a positive and significant association with the openness index implying lockdown restrictions reduced offense rates whereas the other three crime types had no detectable association. While opportunity theory is a tempting post-hoc explanation of some of these findings, no single crime theory provides a plausible explanation of all the results.
Full-text available
Abstract The spread of the coronavirus has led to containment policies in many places, with concomitant shifts in routine activities. Major declines in crime have been reported as a result. However, those declines depend on crime type and may differ by parts of a city and land uses. This paper examines burglary in Detroit, Michigan during the month of March, 2020, a period of considerable change in routine activities. We examine 879 block groups, separating those dominated by residential land use from those with more mixed land use. We divide the month into three periods: pre-containment, transition period, and post-containment. Burglaries increase in block groups with mixed land use, but not blocks dominated by residential land use. The impact of containment policies on burglary clarifies after taking land use into account.
Full-text available
The ongoing Covid-19 outbreak has brought increased incidents of racism, discrimination, and violence against “Asians,” particularly in the United States, with reports of hate crimes of over 100 per day. Since January 2020, many Asian Americans have reported suffering racial slurs, wrongful workplace termination, being spat on, physical violence, extreme physical distancing, etc., as media and government officials increasingly stigmatize and blame Asians for the spread of Covid-19. The links with social media are increasingly evident, as anti-Asian sentiment increases, with reports of anti-Asian sentiment spreading and Asian-Americans fighting hate via social media. Using integrated threat theory, this study explores the links between prejudice/hate toward Asians-Americans, in particular Chinese, and social media use. Three key results emerged from the study. First, the more a social media user believes their most used daily social media is fair, accurate, presents the facts, and is concerned about the public (social media believe), the more likely that user is to believe Chinese pose a realistic and symbolic threat to America. Second, men and women significantly differed on each type of prejudice, with men scoring higher on intergroup anxiety and women higher on symbolic and realistic threat. Third, respondents who do not use social media on a daily basis are less likely than those who use Facebook to perceive Chinese as a symbolic threat. Implications and recommendations for practitioners, health workers and government are proposed.
Full-text available
Family violence refers to threatening or other violent behaviour within families that may be physical, sexual, psychological, or economic, and can include child abuse and intimate partner violence (Peterman et al. 2020, van Gelder et al. 2020). Family violence during pandemics is associated with a range of factors including economic stress, disaster‐related instability, increased exposure to exploitative relationships, and reduced options for support (Peterman et al. 2020). Due to the social isolation measures implemented across the globe to help reduce the spread of COVID‐19, people living in volatile situations of family violence are restricted to their homes. Social isolation exacerbates personal and collective vulnerabilities while limiting accessible and familiar support options (van Gelder et al. 2020). In many countries, including Australia, we have already seen an increase in demand for domestic violence services and reports of increased risk for children not attending schools (Duncan, 2020); a pattern similar to previous episodes of social isolation associated with epidemics and pandemics (Boddy, Young & O'Leary 2020).
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is believed to have emerged in Wuhan, China in late December 2019 and began rapidly spreading around the globe throughout the spring months of 2020. As COVID-19 proliferated across the United States, Asian Americans reported a surge in racially motivated hate crimes involving physical violence and harassment. Throughout history, pandemic-related health crises have been associated with the stigmatization and “othering” of people of Asian descent. Asian Americans have experienced verbal and physical violence motivated by individual-level racism and xenophobia from the time they arrived in America in the late 1700s up until the present day. At the institutional level, the state has often implicitly reinforced, encouraged, and perpetuated this violence through bigoted rhetoric and exclusionary policies. COVID-19 has enabled the spread of racism and created national insecurity, fear of foreigners, and general xenophobia, which may be related to the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic. We examine how these crimes – situated in historically entrenched and intersecting individual-level and institutional-level racism and xenophobia – have operated to “other” Asian Americans and reproduce inequality.
Conspiracy thinking is defined as a pattern of explanatory reasoning about events and situations of personal, social, and historical significance in which a "conspiracy" is the dominant or operative actor. While conspiracy thinking exists to some extent probably in every society, the authors note the special prevalence of this type of thinking in the Arab-Iranian-Muslim Middle East, and offer a psychoanalytically based approach to conspiracy thinking based on theories of the paranoid process. The authors also attempt to identify aspects of Arab-Iranian-Muslim culture that may predispose individuals from that culture to conspiracy thinking, especially child-rearing practices, attitudes toward sexuality, and the role of secrecy.
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Covid-19 and Cybercrime
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