Pandemic driven crime waves

An increase in crimes such as attacks on security personnel and kidnap-for-ransom plots are expected to continue in developing and semi-developed countries after seeing a marked rise in 2020-21 amid the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased crime rates can be linked to a number of factors that boil down to the impotence many governments exhibit in providing security and stability.

Authorities who impose draconian measures without providing adequate relief inadvertently drive people living on the margins to seek more lucrative alternatives. When compounded with the inability to exact control over the national territory, opportunistic criminal organisations thrive.

The severe impact the pandemic has had on subsistence lifestyles worldwide is profound and will continue to disproportionately affect those of lower economic status in 2022. Through 2021, theft and trafficking of goods in places like South Africa saw mass casualties amid police attempts to eradicate these clandestine operations while an unprecedented number of bandit attacks were reported in rural communities across Nigeria, many of which resulted in mass kidnappings.

Meanwhile, drug traffickers across the Americas will continue to double-down on efforts to grow their influence by any means possible with criminal groups becoming more brazen since the beginning of the pandemic. Gang-related shootings are seemingly commonplace in Caracas and in borderlands across Latin America while Port-au-Prince has experienced a noted rise in robberies and kidnappings. This sustained trend will likely continue in 2022 with organised criminal groups coming into increasingly deadly conflict with security forces.

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