The onset of Covid-19 pandemic left a great deal to be desired of human beings. Caring for each other especially during bad times is what makes us unique. During the unprecedented Coronavirus period, one would have expected human beings to come together in unison against the common enemy.
In all fairness, this has somehow happened to a significant extent. Several organizations have mobilized resources in a bid to help the vulnerable people in our communities. However, as this happened, there was another lot who seemed to have found a perfect opportunity to show what they were made of.
In a bid to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, governments all over the world imposed cessations of movement and compulsory stay at homes amid other measures. For instance in Kenya, the government enforced a dusk-to-dawn curfew as one of key measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this seemingly turned be a perfect opportunity for the police to show the extent of their brutality, an act that left many injured and some even dead.
Life under the lock-downs has drastically changed our way of life and also affected how crime occurs, shaping the behavior of both criminals and law-abiding citizens. Depending on your angle of view, certain crimes have decreased. Committing crime is mostly about opportunity, and with the reduced opportunities given the widespread lockdown, certain crime rates went down. Following the guidelines of health experts, government policies driven by the state of emergency, and the enforcement of these policies, it was harder for crooks to find people on the street to rob. Less people in the public meant less crime. Yet, other crimes have gone up revealing more the weakness of humanity, and the battle we must all fight together as a community.
Let’s take a look at some of these crimes:
- Domestic Violence
Since my childhood, I’ve always known that home is where the heart is. With the Coronavirus mandatory stay at homes orders, one would have thought there would been ample time for families to interact, bond better, and heal their past wounds. Sadly, there has been a darker side to that. Domestic violence crimes take off. For example, Ufomba Kamalu, a Nigerian American Baltimore Ravens was arrested and charged for domestic violence in April. With many couples stuck indoors, spouse abuse has steadily increased. To rub salt in a wound, child sexual assaults occasioned by parents have also been rampant. Some governments have even increased the numbers of local shelters for domestic violence victims during the Covid-19 pandemic season.
2. Burglary and Theft
Thieves raid on food banks and businesses that are forced to close by their governments. Unguarded business premises have also been broken into leading to loss of investment and hardwork. Unfortunately, such criminals might be hard to detect considering there are no people to sight them. Insufficient supply of some products like face masks and medical equipment offered them the chance they’ve always sought for. There has been report of theft cases involving oxygen canisters from hospitals, the items so needed for critically ill Covid-19 patients.
If I was asked, the closure of pubs and clubs would result into a decrease in alcohol intake among partakers. However, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it has caused a boom in online sales, liquor stores and supermarkets. Just when we needed to turn inward, many sadly cannot. Where there’s a fear in turning inward and reflecting, there’s also a promise of healing. Well, in as far as I do not have any reservations for the ‘lovers of the bottle’ who can’t help self-medicating with one for the road, it hurts to see alcohol trigger violence. This may not go well with children or even your significant other, that’s not something you want, not as the pandemic sticks around.
4. Racism and Xenophobia
Interestingly, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread so has racism and xenophobia spread around the world. As humanity, we thought we’ve come a long way in eradicating the vices of racism, and it’s such a shame to see “sane” human beings and nations turn against each other. We can blame our prejudice on Coronavirus pandemic but the truth is the world problem of racism is not caused by Mr. Corona. Our true character should have prevailed to show the mettle we’ve encompassed over time instead of blaming each other or blaming circumstance. The real life-sucking virus and the scariest world pandemic is in us.
5. Online fraud
With several governments giving economic impact funds to its citizens, scammers have been all over trying to swipe the funds. Charity emails, and some claiming to represent the World Health Organization (WHO) have been on the rise. This is one thing I consider as pervasive as this Covid-19 pandemic. It’s annoying how scammers target people at their most vulnerable moments.
Some have even gone to an extent of pitching fake vaccines and coronavirus cures. Just as legitimate businesses are trying to pivot and offer products and services that meet the demand of the time, so the hoodlums. They too are wearing their shameful cunning hats to invent possible ways to enrich their cursed pockets. Unfortunately, some of us always fall victims of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. Sadly, scammers won’t shy from using this pandemic to their advantage. To stay safe, don’t click any links nor provide any personal information.
As the African proverb goes, ‘every market has its own mad man.’ Seemingly, the Coronavirus pandemic has unearthed a number of mad men, and is offering just the coverage they need to blame others or circumstance for their behaviors. This pandemic has revealed a number of evils in our society. Unfortunately, some may feel the effects of the evils long after people resume their normal lives. Time will tell if humanity will continue unearthing their inner devils despite the current uncertainty. Meanwhile, do your part, maintain your social distance, sanitize your hands and continue practicing proper hygiene as we hope to defeat this virus.
Your turn: What crime did I miss? Which one do you perceive has gone down in your neighborhood and which is on the rise? Share your comments below.