Crime | April 19, 2020 4:23 pm

Will Organized Crime Profit From the Coronavirus?

One global crisis leading to many smaller ones around the world

Crime scene tape
Alarming new data explores how organized crime is responding to the coronavirus.
Tony Webster/Creative Commons

The effects of the coronavirus are being felt across the globe, and in numerous corners of the economy. It’s led to instability and confusion for many, and panic for others. Chaotic conditions like these are, unfortunately, places where organized crime can flourish. And a new report at CNN from Valentina Di Donato and Tim Lister offers an unsettling look at how the Mafia is responding to the pandemic — and how they’re using it as a way to increase their influence.

According to CNN’s report, Mafia organizations are using the crisis to fill a gap within society:

[Mafia clans] are providing everyday necessities in poor neighborhoods, offering credit to businesses on the verge of bankruptcy and planning to siphon off a chunk of the billions of euros being lined up in stimulus funds.

This isn’t limited to Italy. Di Donato and Lister note that several of the groups they discuss have a reach far outside of the borders of Italy, for instance. And a recent article at Forbes cited worldwide examples of how organized crime organizations are profiting in ways small and large from the global pandemic.

The Forbes article cited a recent paper from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime titled “Crime and Contagion: The impact of a pandemic on organized crime.” The paper’s introduction sets out an unnerving description of the coming criminal landscape:

The institutional response to the pandemic and the consequent reshaping of socio-economic norms worldwide will affect how criminal networks operate, as well as the nature of law-enforcement responses to them.

“Crime and Contagion” notes that the coronavirus has slowed some criminal activities, while simultaneously enlarging the window for other such activities to take place. And, as the paper notes, this is something with global implications — making it a cause for concern around the world.

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