With more than 1,47,577 cases, Italy is one of the worst affected countries by the coronavirus. As the country struggles, the Mafia gangs are gaining local support by distributing food to all those poor families who have run out of cash.
According to The Guardian, a few videos have surfaced where some known Mafia gangs can be seen distributing essential goods to the people across the poorest southern regions of Calabria, Sicily, Campania and Puglia.
An anti-mafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, Nicola Gratteri said,
Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month. If the state doesn’t step in soon to help these families, the mafia will provide its services, imposing their control over people’s lives.
The lockdown in Italy is affecting around 3.3 million people in the country who work off the books. According to the most recent figures from CGIA Mestre, a Venice-based small business association, out of these 3.3 million people, more than 1 million people live in the south.
Even after police patrolling the supermarkets in some areas to stop theft, there have been some reports of small shop owners being pressured to give food for free.
Recently, the police in Naples have increased their patrolling in the poorest areas of the city. This action has been taken by the police after a few men, who belong to the Neapolitan mafia, have organised home delivery of food parcels.
As a response, magistrates have already begun an investigation against a group of people who were questioned while distributing food to the local people.
Dozens of investigations on these Mafia have led to the arrests of some politicians who have aided and abetted the Mafia gangs. These politicians were elected with the support of local Mafiosi who forced citizens to vote for them in exchange for providing them with some essential services.