COVID-19 restrictions reduced violence only in low-crime countries



Global restrictions against the spread of coronaviruses reduced violence only in countries with already low crime levels while remaining stable in regions where organized crime and gangs are often very active.

This is clear from a report issued this Wednesday by the United Nations Organization on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), prepared with data from the first month of confinement, that is, between March and April.

The data analyzed by this Vienna-based UN organization reveals that during the first three to four weeks of restrictions in Central American countries the level of homicides remained stable or in the best case experienced a slight reduction.

The uneven evolution between the countries of the region, considered one of the most violent on the planet, is due to different measures of restrictions taken against the coronavirus.

The data indicates that some important actors in the region, such as youth gangs or organized crime, continued "at least in this phase" of the confinement operating with violence.

The report highlights data from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, which before and after the start of the confinement hardly show a change in the number of murders.

On the other hand, in other regions, such as North America or Western Europe, confinement or restriction measures caused a drastic reduction in the level of homicides.

The UNODC highlights the example of Italy, where the number of murders fell dramatically last March, to a third of the level recorded in the same month the previous year.

On the other hand, the report indicates that heroin trafficking, which is usually overland, has been more affected by the restrictions than cocaine trafficking, which is carried out more by sea routes.

Recent seizures of cocaine in European ports demonstrate that international trafficking in this drug is still active, concludes the UNODC in its report, with which it participates in a larger study on the impact of COVID-19 carried out by 36 UN agencies.

On May 7, the UNODC had already reported that measures to combat the pandemic are altering the drug market, opening new trafficking routes and reducing the supply of some substances.

At the same time, it increases the risk of overdose and that more farmers in growing areas, such as South America, have to resort to these crops in the face of the economic crisis.

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