11/08/2022, 13.35
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As Sri Lanka’s economic crisis deepens, crime grows

by Melani Manel Perera

Thefts of cars, spare parts and livestock are on the rise. The number of murders is also up. According to experts, these are the consequences of the financial situation that has gripped the country for months.


Colombo (AsiaNews) - Police statistics show an increase in crime over the past year amid the country’s economic woes.

Police data note especially a rise in vehicle thefts: as of September 2022, 1,406 were stolen, including 12 buses, 25 vans, 16 lorries, 14 cars, 311 three wheelers, 1,016 motorcycles, and 12 other.

According to transport providers, vehicle thefts have grown since spare parts costs skyrocketed.

Percy Perera, a resident of the capital, said that on Sunday, while attending mass at St Anthony's shrine in Kochchikade, thieves stole two side windows of his car..

“I filed a complaint, but so far I did not receive a good response,” he told AsiaNews.

The number of killings has also increased. In the first nine months this year, 435 murders were reported compared to a total of 403 last year.

According to police, shootings related to organised crime have also increased.

For economists, as people become impoverished, they turn to crime because of their financial difficulties.

Piyasiri Somaratne, a 60-year-old poultry farm farmer in Kuliyapitiya, told AsiaNews that farmers who raise cattle, chicken and goats are making great efforts to protect their livestock from thieves.

"No matter if it is day or night, we have to protect our livelihood from robbers. We must always be vigilant,” Piyasiri explained.

“At the start of the crisis it was very difficult to have a meal a day. We, who ate and drank well have no words about the destruction caused by these politicians and the government.”

Piyasiri added that expenses have also increased, because to protect the farm, it is necessary to keep the lights on in the chicken coop and barn until dawn.

"Then at the end of the month we get an electricity bill for four or five thousand rupees (US$ 11 to 14). In light of this, we wonder whether we will live or die.”

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