The connection between crime and city size is not a new fact. Criminologists have discussed the urban tendency toward offences for decades. The earlier days of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country showed a decline in the crime rate in the big cities of Pakistan. However, new findings suggest an increase. Only in Rawalpindi, at least 75 incidents of house robberies and vehicle theft were reported during the last 48 hours.

We are already seeing rising unemployment due to the economic uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus. And according to many criminologists and economists, there is a positive correlation between unemployment and crimes. Naturally, when there are fewer opportunities for legitimate income, people may turn to illegal activities.

Rising criminal activities are indicative of dangerous times ahead. The surge in unlawful activities of the offenders can damage the social fabric and law and order situation severely. Law enforcement agencies must take cognisance of this changing social environment due to the looming recession. If the authorities do not come up with a comprehensive policy, an increase in crime rates during the current period of economic uncertainty could exacerbate an already stressful situation. While the police force is stretched due to efforts against corona, practising smart policing and improving response time can prove helpful in crime prevention.

However, law enforcement agencies cannot control crimes on their own. The government’s intervention is also necessary to not allow an increase in unemployment. The state must devise a policy where it can take more businesses on board to not fire their employees. A furlough scheme has been recommended; this must be considered. It is no secret that poverty and hopelessness have increased manifold during the current lockdown. And crime rates will see a further surge if the state fails in protecting people from becoming unemployed.