AFTER THE STORM COMES THE VULTURES COVID-19 IMPACT ON CRIME AND UNEMPLOYMENT BY PERLA BALI SAI CHARITHA

INTRODUCTION

COVID-19 is an outbreak of coronavirus which was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It is an infectious disease. Gradually this outbreak was passed like a wildfire throughout the world. By 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this as a pandemic. Many lakhs of people died throughout the world because of this pandemic. Some of them were cured. Till  date, there is no vaccine or medicine invented. Various measures like lockdown, curfew, etc., were taken by the governments of various countries . India is a country where the nationwide lockdown was announced until May 2020.  As it is an infectious disease, social distancing is the only way discovered by the people to control the spread of the virus. Due to the lockdown, all the schools, universities, colleges, offices, shopping malls, and many others were closed. Transportation was also not available. Railways, roadways, and airways are also not available to the people. Only the essential commodities were available and for that too there is restricted access to these So, most of us are working from the place where westay (home). Many educational institutions are conducting classes and exams online. The whole world is connected through online. The economies of many states were at stake. This whole situation had an impact on crime and unemployment.

IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT

Due to the lockdown or the curfew implemented by the states, each sector is affected economically. When it comes to employment, some of the people work from home. Even though they work, the salary paid to them was reduced. Some people were removed from the job because companies do not require them. As of now,most of  the companies lost their business and are running under huge loss . So, they are not in a position to hire people. This may affect the young upcoming generation. When we consider the final year graduated students, there are cases where the students who qualified for all the interview process, etc., but there is no response from the companies to hire them. This shows that it affects not only the people who are working but also the upcoming people as it will affect the future as well.

When it comes to the people who are daily or weekly wage workers. The most affected persons are daily or weekly wage workers. Many people work at construction sites, mining activities, auto drivers, street vendors, food vendors, gig economy workers, etc. Due to the lockdown and fear of getting affected they cannot go to their workplaces and work; this affected their daily income. Many of these workers left their hometown for the sake of their work. Due to the non-availability of transportation, they cannot return to their hometowns also.

When it comes to the people who are working at the shopping malls, cleaners at offices, maids at home, etc., are also affected because of the lockdown; even though they are monthly wage workers, they will be paid only if their work is done which cannot happen due to the lockdown.

When we consider the business of the people who are having groceries, medical shops, and all other essential commodities, they have their earning. But the others who don’t have the business of essential commodities are affected a lot .

Farmers and other agricultural workers are also affected in one way or the other. Lawyers are also the ones who got affected due to this pandemic. All the courts are closed. Only some cases are taken online and some are postponed.

From the above, it is clear that most of the people are unemployed and lost their income. This has affected the economy at large.

IMPACT ON CRIMES

Unemployment might be one of the reasons for the increase in crimes. During the lockdown, we had come to know from newspapers,articles and many studies, that crimes like harassment of women, murders, etc. have reduced. But when it comes to crimes like robbing, burglary, online crime, smuggling, illegal markets, etc., have increased.

Due to the lockdown, many people are using amazon prime video, Netflix, zee tv, etc., to watch series or movies and many others. Many of them are getting indulged  into online gaming platforms. For these, some of them were giving their access to the devices which may have their personalized data. For some of it , they are  needed to pay the amount online. Many of us are buying online because of which  our financial information is at stake from cyber theft  . Hackers can get that hacked and might misuse it for other purposes. This shows that there might be an increase in cybercrimes.

There are some incidences where the looting of the house took place when the whole family was in quarantine. There was a case in Kottayam, India that an aged couple was attacked in their home.[1] As there were no people roaming on the streets after a period of time. This has become easy for people to rob or theft. Many of the studies of the criminologists suggested that the unemployment and pathetic economic condition of the people would increase the crime rate gradually.

In some states due to the lockdown, liquor is also banned and in  some states there have been an increase in the cost of liquor. So, there are cases where people enter the other states where liquor is available at cheaper costs, purchase it, and sell them in their states for more amount. This happens in the borders of some states.

There are many religious radicals who claim that the COVID-19 is an effect of God because of the sins of the people. There are many incidents of terrorism that also expected in the future. In this situation there might be the chances of misuse of power by the police and other departments as well.  There are chances that the youth who are not able to get employment can earn through crimes such as cybercrime etc.

When it comes to the other aspects, spread of fake news should also be considered as a cybercrime because many people are posting every nonsense thing in their accounts of Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc., that should be regulated by the concerned authorities.

The notion from Gary Becker’s seminal work on criminal choices (Becker 1968), low expectations on returns to legal activity may lead to initial involvement in crime and subsequently to a first encounter with the criminal justice system.[2] So,to earn their basic income, there might be a chance of unlawful ways by which the people get involved, and there were some activities seen already in the society which might increase earlier.

CONCLUSION

Covid-19 pandemic affected the whole world and also the people individually. There are many people who died due to COVID-19. Many people committed suicide because of the mental trauma which they suffer.The government along with the concerned authorities should take the actions that are randomly taking place in the society. As of now, some schemes are introduced by the government. It is on their part to look carefully at the implementation of the schemes. As it is not directly given to the people, mediators are taking advantage of the situation and misusing their power.

The schemes which are present are not that sufficient, some other schemes should also be  implemented to improve the employment opportunities. There might be awareness to be  created among the people as well. Wholly blaming the government for everything is also not to be encouraged.

The government along with the police department, cybercrime departments must take additional measures to reduce the fake news spread among the people and to reduce the crimes in the society.

Upon considering all the above factors, conditions or the circumstances it is clear that unemployment will be the main factor for the crimes that might be any kind of crime. In the near future, there is an increase in the crimes as the lockdown which was implemented earlier was removed. In this crisis period, if the crime rate got increased, that might have a great destruction in the society. So, it must be taken carefully into consideration and should be controlled by the awareness and the implementation of new schemes by the government. It is on the part of us to have an economically well balanced society even though at the time of crisis as well and have a strong and wealthy nation.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Ajay Kanth, Unemployment, economic crisis could trigger spurt in crimes: Criminologists, https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2020/jun/04/unemployment-economic-crisis-could-trigger-spurt-in-crimes-criminologists-2151887.html.

[2] Pradyumna Uppal, COVID-19 WILL LEAD TO INCREASED CRIME RATES IN INDIA, Vol.8. International Journal of Research – GRANTHAALAYAH 72, 74 (2020), http://granthaalayah.com/Articles/Vol8Iss4/09_IJRG20_B04_3267.pdf.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed are that of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of Katcheri.in.

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