A Criminological Study on Crimes in the Western Province of Sri Lanka, During the covid 19 Lockdown Period
The novel coronavirus Covid 19 has become a worldwide public health pandemic that has induced Anomic conditions to influence daily routines. Crime is a constant phenomenon of society and it results in the necessity of maintaining crime prevention and controlling machinery during any situation to establish law and order. The study used the positivist paradigm to interpret the research problem ''Has Covid 19 changed the crimes in Sri Lanka during the lockdowns in early 2020'' while analyzing the relationship between crimes and Covid 19 induced lockdowns. The study followed a deductive approach; Primary data was collected from sixty-four police officers, who were selected according to the stratified sampling technique within the Western province. Questionnaires and interviews were the main primary data collection tools used in the study. Qualitative and quantitative mixed analytical tools were applied in identifying criminal tendencies during the lockdown period. The study revealed that property crimes in the year 2020 dropped by 44% more than the year 2019 and 63% of property crimes were committed during the first half of the year 2020 compared to the whole year. Sexual crimes noted a 0.99% drop and violent crimes stated a 50% drop compared to 2019. However, organized crimes have increased 11% more than in 2019. From all the categories of crimes, over 50% were committed during the first half of the year 2020. It further demonstrates that property crimes increased because of the economic instability induced by the lockdowns. However, drug-related crimes were committed continuously without considering the pandemic and lockdowns. The study further discovered that there was a decrease in regular street crimes and minor crimes such as pick-pocketing, vehicle theft, and spare parts robberies executed in the Pettah area during the Covid 19 lockdown period. The study recommends the application of a technological approach to detect criminal tendencies, and pandemic planning module, which can be implemented to the national emergency management system.