Crime in Scotland drops around 25% since start of lockdown

Serious assaults fall by 40% and housebreaking incidents reduce by 30% between March 24 and April 19.

Police: Social distancing measures have led to a drop in crime. Police Scotland
Police: Social distancing measures have led to a drop in crime.

Crime in Scotland has dropped by around 25% since lockdown measures were introduced.

Police Scotland said that crime across the country has reduced since social distancing measures came into effect.

Serious assaults have fallen by 40% while common assaults were down by 25%. Housebreaking incidents have reduced by around 30% between March 24 and April 19.

Deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor said: “The significant changes that everyone is having to adjust to are undoubtedly having an effect on the nature and level of demand on policing.

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“While decreases in assaults and housebreaking are to be welcomed, this information covers a relatively short period of time and care must be taken to avoid assumptions about trends.

“We are seeing, for example, a slight decrease in domestic abuse incidents but are acutely aware this may not reflect what is happening behind closed doors and we know that people don’t always report abuse immediately.”

She added: “For some, this period of physical distancing and isolation may expose them to a greater risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

“We have been using our social media channels to highlight our concern and raise awareness in communities. We want people to feel safe and we want to prevent harm by identifying people who may be at risk, and putting in place measures that will help keep them safe.”

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Breach of the peace has fallen by over 50% while possession of drugs is down by around a fifth.

However, fraud crimes across Scotland have seen a 10% increase, with evidence suggesting that criminals are exploiting the public health crisis.

Ms Taylor said: “It could be months or years before we have a clear picture of the effect that physical distancing requirements have had on some crime categories in Scotland.

“What I want to emphasise is that we remain committed to making sure that every one of Scotland’s citizens is looked after.

“Our primary responsibility is to prevent crime. We strive to leave victims of crime feeling safe and we will continue to make sure that those who are living alone, the elderly, the vulnerable are given full protection.”

Public nuisance type incidents, generally relating to people reporting those they believe are failing to adhere to physical distancing guidance, have more than doubled and now account for around a fifth of all incidents.

Noise incidents have also increased significantly, anecdotally related to the increased time which people are believed to be spending in their home address.

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Justice secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed the figures and said it was pleasing to see people adhering to the social distancing requirements.

He said: “We must continue to seek to protect the public and reduce opportunities generated by the current Covid-19 outbreak that some will use to exploit members of the public.

“We must also remain vigilant to the risks of harm and offending against our most vulnerable citizens, in particular those living in fear of abuse and violence in their own homes.

“I want to be absolutely clear that anyone experiencing domestic abuse in the home is not alone. While they may feel isolated and vulnerable, unheard and unseen, help is still available round the clock, services are open and they are there to help.

“These are tough times for everyone and ensuring people and communities across Scotland are safe and resilient is vital. Along with Police Scotland and other partners, we are working to achieve this.”

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