The global COVID-19 pandemic is drastically changing the law enforcement landscape. It is providing incentives and opportunities for crime syndicates and new trends have emerged alongside existing criminal activities.
In a global threat assesment report, INTERPOL stated the evolving threats as below.
- Marked increase of cyber threats including malicious domains, malware and ransomware
- Health service providers and essential products outlets increasingly targeted as critical infrastructure
- Fraudulent and counterfeit trade in personal protective equipment (PPE) and anti-viral pharmaceuticals
- Increased drug commerce via social media, encrypted apps and the Darknet
- Individuals and businesses on reduced incomes potential targets of loan sharks
Crime pattern changes
With one third of the world’s population currently under some form of confinement, changes in crime patterns are already being seen.
- As more people are at home, the number of burglaries has dropped, but thieves are increasingly targeting factories or business premises which are standing empty.
- There has also been a significant rise in domestic violence cases since the start of coronavirus-related quarantines, with reports showing women and children at greater risk of abuse.
- There is increased online activity by paedophiles seeking child sexual abuse material, which is being exacerbated by a shortage of moderators who identify and remove offensive material from networks.
- Purple Notices have been issued in relation to increased ransomware attacks and new types of fraud specifically linked to COVID-19.