In a virtual talk arranged by the Department of Criminology of Dhaka University, speakers contemplated over the rising domestic violence, hacking and credit card forgeries
Indoor crimes and cybercrimes have increased more than the physical crimes prevalent in the country as people are staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic period, said speakers at a virtual talk series titled “Perspective of crime & crime prevention in the age of Covid-19.”
The talk was organized by the Department of Criminology of Dhaka University on Friday evening.
Chair of DU’s Criminology department Khandaker Farzana Rahman moderated the session.
The speakers said that initially when a general holiday was in place, incidents of crime reduced, but it is now gradually increasing more than the pre-coronavirus period as opportunities for crimes have increased now.
Dr Zia Rahman, professor of Criminology at DU, said crime is definitely a matter of income as lack of money leads to negativity in people’s attitude, and at one stage it leads to crimes.
Citing an example he said, militancy emerged in Bangladesh during the nineties because of poverty.
People including poor Madrasa students, unemployed,and the poor became associated with various criminal groups.
“While there are other reasons to be associated with militancy, this fact [poverty] still remains,” he said.
People are falling back on crimes because they can gain excessive money from it, like in the health sector of Bangladesh where many officers are involved in corruption, he added.
Monirul Islam, deputy inspector general of Bangladesh Police and chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit, said crimes are increasing in the time of coronavirus, but due to bindings on free movement, indoor crimes like domestic violence are increasing.
“However, crimes which are committed in person are low compared to pre-corona time,” he said.
Reasons behind increasing crimes
Monirul Islam cited people’s mental and economical crisis in this lockdown or general holiday period as reasons behind this.
“We can say indoor crimes have been recorded based on complaints received, but many people are also not reporting the crime as they remain at home,” he said.
Cybercrimes, hackings and credit card forgeries have risen manifold during the Covid-19 period, he pointed out.
“Police forces are now busy with different activities not because of crime duties only, but also for additional duties involved with Covid-19. We faced trouble in managing the workforce initially because of manpower shortage and Covid-19 infection among police members,,” he said.
Many criminals are taking the opportunity to commit crimes while the police are involved in Covid-19 duties as frontline fighters, said CTTC Chief Monirul.
The situation is becoming normal now, and when everything goes back to normal, all kinds of crimes will rise further, Monirul said adding that they are taking necessary preparations for tackling the crimes in the days ahead.
Police are unable to focus on all types of crimes because they are involved in many other activities, he said.
Regarding militancy activities, he said the groups are trying to unite like-minded people using encrypted applications during the lockdown period, but they have not been able to succeed in managing new members as police are regularly arresting suspects.
Criminology Professor Dr Zia Rahman said organized crimes can increase if risks of getting caught are lower and opportunities are higher.
“We need to prepare ourselves to prevent organized crimes,” he said.