Dr Johan Burger, also from the ISS, agreed that the crimes were possibly done by a mix of criminals and those acting out of desperation.
“We haven’t had time to analyse what is happening but what we have seen so far is criminals who are exploiting the situation and people without means to earn any sort of income during this lockdown. People are becoming poorer and can’t buy their immediate needs.
“What we know is the increasing number in unemployment is also a contributing factor to the crime we see in the country,” Burger said.
He said some people break into food outlets to get food, and also with the hope to get cash that will allow them to take care of their other obligations, like rent.
On the issue of vandalism at schools, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said he hoped police would dig deeper and look at who stood to benefit when those schools are repaired or buildings replaced.
“Police need to search for motivation on the vandalism of schools, especially in instances where there was no evidence of theft,” he said.
Mathekga said the lockdown disturbed a lot of economies, including the political economy. He said the reality of crime is something the country needs to deal with, especially because the lockdown meant some economic pipeline would be shut.
“The thing is that crime is not separate from humanity. Criminals have well established networks and this lockdown disturbed those networks tremendously,” he said.