A sudden surge in gold prices coupled with high unemployment due to COVID-19 may have increased risk of theft in India.
On the evening of 20 August, a man threw chilli powder in the eyes of a jewellery shop owner in Indore and tried to escape with around 50 grams of gold, an ANI report said. Local around the shop nabbed the man, obstructing him from escaping with the stolen metal.
Economic difficulties trigged by lockdowns and social distancing measures in various parts of the country may result in a spurt in crimes in the days to come.
Gold prices in India surging to above Rs 50,000/10 grams have also made jewellery theft attractive.
After the frustration of sitting at home with no certainty of income and health, movement restrictions have been lifted but people have started to feel the heat of shortage of money. Economic difficulties have largely been the motivator to commit a crime and other anti-social activities.
Face masks, which have now become a norm, also come in handy for those looking to commit crimes in public areas, streets and places with CCTV supervision (like in the case of a jewellery shop).
After July's recovery, where the overall unemployment rate in India had lowered to pre-COVID-19 levels, the percentage of those without a job has risen. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that the unemployment rate in the country for the week ended 16 August was at 9.10 percent wherein urban employment stood at 9.61 percent and that of rural India was 8.86 percent.
The rural unemployment rate in July had shown a better recovery by falling to 6.6 percent against 10.52 percent in June, which economists said due to good monsoon and better sowing season in rural India along with the gradual resumption of the economic activities in urban centers during the month. Since the recovery was due to a rise in agricultural activities, it was expected to be temporary.