The world is experiencing one of the worst catastrophes imaginable. None of us are immune to the effect the Coronavirus is having and as the ripples spread far and wide and the infection rate rises, the strain on our public services is immense. With clear instructions in place to help us to try and delay the spread of the disease, the impact on our social interaction with others seems devastating. But those instructions are crucial if we are to suppress the infection spread, at least for the time being.
As of early March it was reported that the government had warned: ”Police forces will concentrate on responding to serious crimes and maintaining public order if they suffer large staff absences during the outbreak of coronavirus”. Basically this means that if you are burgled (classified as a low level crime), then it will be less likely for police officers to attend your scene, as the workforce could be stretched even further to cope with the absence of officers who are either infected with Covid-19 or who are in self-isolation. Potentially this could be a green light for many offenders wishing to take advantage of more ‘relaxed’ measures. However, the reality is that people’s normal patterns of behaviour have been well and truly disrupted which could signal a reduction in the crime rate as more and more people are staying at home.
Unfortunately, crime isn’t just confined to physical acts. Online crime is a real and present danger. At the end of February, online giant Amazon pulled over a million online items whose sellers were capitalising on the fear factor. Counterfeit face masks and bogus virus cures were listed at highly inflated prices. With our shops’ shelves being almost stripped bare of such items, as well as hand sanitisers and anti-bacterial products, worried consumers are being duped into paying these exorbitant prices for substandard and sometimes non-existent products.
Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve told talkRADIO that he thought that the economic hit of coronavirus could raise crime. He stated: “The issue that worries me is how, at the end of this, do we pick society up and will there be the number of casualties who will be so badly affected economically that that may contribute to a rise in the crime rate?”
What is certain, is that we are living through a time where we need to be vigilant in all aspects of our lives. With so many people having to work from home now, the likelihood of burglary is greatly reduced with properties being occupied around the clock. But it doesn’t mean we should be any less careful with our home security measures. Opportunists are just that – they may still target the old and vulnerable.
Likewise, many commercial premises are either standing empty or running with a skeleton staff. It’s an absolutely crucial time to ensure that your premises are protected during the most uncertain time in generations.
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