Does Corona strengthen organized crime?

unsplash-logoLuis Villasmil

Many experts warn of a rise in organised crime. The rapid increase in counterfeiting, especially on online trading platforms, seems to prove you right. But is this really logical?

Some have always known. In any crisis where the population is under pressure and the security authorities have their hands full, it is only possible that the criminals sense their chance. While the police are busy checking restricted areas and people without mouthguards, the thief has it easy one street away. This also applies in a figurative sense to the retail trade.

In Germany, the leading trade association HDE expects around 50,000 insolvencies of small stationary retailers due to the Corona crisis. In total, there are around 340,000 retailers in Germany. They generate an annual turnover of a massive 580 billion euros. On average, every inhabitant in Germany spends 20,000 euros per year on private consumption. This includes major purchases such as cars and everyday necessities.

In the Corona crisis, the food trade suffered the least. With annual sales of around 200 billion euros, it is the largest sub-market. And it is probably one of the biggest beneficiaries. According to a report from the food industry, one third of Germans have less money in their pockets. Overall, however, Germans are spending more on food than before. This is directly related to the greater difficulties, or rather prohibitions, of ordering and consuming ready-made meals outside the home. So more is being cooked at home again. At the same time, people attach more importance to the quality of food.

This is accompanied by a lower willingness to spend money on other consumer goods, such as clothing. More than a third of Germans are saving on this. Investments in hobbies, consumer electronics, household appliances and furniture are also clearly declining. Expenditure on travel, mobility and services such as the otherwise regular visit to the hairdresser’s has almost completely collapsed (in addition to restaurant visits).

People therefore consume less and more carefully. This is actually not an ideal condition for criminals, whether they are active online or offline. If you think about your investments carefully or put them on hold, you won’t get caught by fraudsters so easily. And: a positive side-effect of the whole quarantine period is the decrease in home burglaries. The number of home burglaries in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, has shrunk by almost 40 percent in recent weeks. Since there is also less activity on the streets, the number of pickpockets has also fallen.

On the other hand, the police apparatus had to switch to otherwise unusual controls of the normal population. More and more patrols are being set in motion, for example, to control contact bans and ensure that meetings are broken up. However, since criminals naturally try to get lost in the mass of normal citizens, they also have bad cards here, since the pressure to control is immensely increased even in unusual places.

The Corona crisis is probably also a crisis of crime. The conditions could not be worse. Finally, an economic sector whose decline and losses no one will really mourn.