Violent crime ‘down by two fifths in just over a decade’

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey found that the number of violent crimes fell from 317,000 to 194,000 since 2008.

Violent crime ‘down by two fifths in just over a decade’ SNS Group

Violent crime in Scotland has fallen by 39% since 2008, new Scottish Government figures have shown.

There were an estimated 194,000 violent crimes committed in Scotland, of the 563,000 total offences, in 2019-20, according to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, accounting for 34% of all crimes.

The survey spoke to 5568 people in Scotland between April 2019 and March 2020, meaning the figures referenced in the 232-page report are estimates with “relatively wide margins of error”.

Violent crime fell from 317,000 in 2008-09, while the proportion of adults who were the victims of crime fell from 20.4% to 11.9% in the same period.

The vast majority of all violent crimes were minor assaults not resulting in injury (73%), while 10% were minor assaults where injury was inflicted, followed by attempted assault and serious assault, both on 6%, with 5% of all violent crimes being a robbery.

However, certain types of sexual crimes have risen in the past year.

From 2008-09 to 2019-20, there was an increase in the proportion of Scots reporting attempted forced sexual intercourse since the age of 16 (from 1.5% to 2%).

A similar rise was seen in the number of people, overwhelmingly women, who said they had been the victim of another form of attempted sexual activity, from 0.7% to 1.3%.

The number of people reporting unwanted sexual touching since they turned 16 also rose from 4.8% to 7.4% in the same time period.

The number of property crimes, such as theft and vandalism, has also almost halved since 2008-09, according to the survey, falling from an estimated 728,000 to 369,000 in the most recent year.

The proportion of adults reporting they had been the victim of a property crime also fell from 18% to 10%.

Most offences were for vandalism (38%), followed by household theft (27%), personal theft (22%), car theft (8%) and housebreaking (6%).

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This latest national survey underlines the findings from other official sources, such as recorded crime and hospital admissions data, that crime including violent crime, has fallen substantially over the last decade.

“This is down to the work of police, wider public services, the third sector and communities themselves, supported by Scotland’s firm focus on early intervention and prevention work, through the work of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and Medics Against Violence and our No Knives Better Lives and Mentors in Violence Prevention programmes.

“However, the survey shows that both the falls in crime, and improved perceptions of safety have not been equally felt.

“Building on our progress in reducing violent crime, we are working to tackle violence against women and girls.

“This week I will urge parliament to back our plans to give police and the courts new powers to remove suspected abusers from victims’ homes – adding to the world-leading domestic abuse laws we introduced a few years ago.

“However, just as we have cut violent crime through a combination of legal changes and wider education and community interventions, so too it falls on many of us – politicians, parents, friends and work colleagues – to play our part in tackling violence against women, including the misogyny that frequently underlies it.”

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