The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on security. Restrictive measures to manage the pandemic have also affected the crime situation in the EU Member States. Criminal groups have shown adaptability and flexibility in changing the use of criminal methods, with a strong emphasis on illegal internet activity. The main changes concerned cybercrime, counterfeit goods, as well as fraud related to property crimes. Of particular concern was the increase in demand, but also in supply and therefore in the availability of child pornography, as well as in the live abuse of children. Due to limited stocks, violent clashes between drug gangs intensified and the price of substances increased. There has been a systematic attempt to deceive older people, mainly through fraudsters pretending to be civil servants. The anti-crime policies of the states must be flexible and have the ability to adapt to the changes that can bring crises, such as the pandemic. It is important to strengthen cooperation with the private sector and especially with internet providers to enhance the security of online transactions. The preparation of specialized Action Plans to address disinformation and its effects in the field of security is also essential.
You may read the Policy brief by Dr. Triantafyllos Karatrantos, Research Fellow of ELIAMEP, here (in Greek).