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National Indicator: Crime Victimisation Rates

up Reduce crime victimisation rates

Indicator Measure
Proportion of people in Scotland who have been the victim of one or more crimes in the past year

Current Status
The risk of being a victim of crime has decreased from 16.9% in 2012/13 to 14.5% in 2014/15. This represents a decrease of 2.4 percentage points and is 5.9 percentage points lower than the baseline year of 2008/09. 

1992 to 2014-15

Source: Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 15 March 2016
Next Update: March 2018

Reduce crime victimisation rates

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Crime victimisation rates measure the incidence of personal and household crimes - as perceived by victims of crime themselves, rather than police records of reported crimes. We believe this provides a better measure of the actual incidence of crime in our communities. A high victimisation rate suggests an unsafe community, which impacts on people's quality of life and may deter public and private improvements or investment and reduce the residential desirability of an area.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Victimisation rates, particularly those associated with property crime, are affected by wider economic and social trends. In an unfavourable or declining economy, crime can increase. Poor earning power, unemployment or frustration with the resulting deprivation are factors which may lead people to commit criminal acts. Other factors affecting crime levels include alcohol abuse and drug dependency - many crimes of violence, including sexual offences, are committed while perpetrators are drunk or under the influence of drugs. The 'drugs trade' itself is involved in many criminal offences and supports other criminal behaviour.

What is the Government's role?

We will lead efforts to create a safer, stronger Scotland, working with a range of partners to ensure that enforcement is effective while seeking to address the deeper, underlying causes of crime and disorder.

We are committed to driving forward reforms and initiatives to prevent offending and reoffending - focusing especially on early intervention, providing opportunities for young people and keeping them out of trouble. Preventative approaches are crucial. Intervening early, engaging with young people and getting the right help at important times in their lives - especially for the most vulnerable - these are vital steps to divert them from the wrong choices and impairing their life chances. Investing in the pre-school years, providing intensive support for some families, equipping children with the skills to make a positive contribution through Curriculum for Excellence and the whole system approach to youth offending are all specific examples of this approach.

This Government has a clear role in tackling the underlying causes of crime. This includes the impact of drugs and alcohol. We have invested £32 million to support the delivery of the national drugs recovery strategy. On alcohol, we have banned irresponsible promotions in the off-trade sector and have introduced a power to ensure those who profit from the sale of alcohol contribute to some of the costs of dealing with the consequences of alcohol misuse. There is a clear link between the price of alcohol and consumption levels. There is also a clear link between consumption levels and harm. That is why we are introducing the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill - the most effective and efficient way to tackle alcohol misuse by targeting problem drinkers.

We have invested in the justice system. We have increased police officer numbers to provide an effective and visible police presence which is helping tackle offending and reducing the fear of crime. We are committed to coming down hard on serious and organised crime and we have established the Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to ensure all key law enforcement agencies are working together on this. The Reducing Reoffending Programme is delivering changes to give Scotland a modern coherent penal policy based on a credible and robust package of community penalties, such as the new Community Payback Order (CPO). A next phase of this work will now look at what needs to be done to ensure that effective services to reduce reoffending are available in all parts of the country.

The Government can also promote and encourage innovative approaches to make communities safer. We have used seized criminal assets to benefit communities through our 'CashBack for Communities' initiative. We have invested in 'No Knives, Better Lives', an award winning youth engagement initiative which educates young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

How is Scotland performing?

The risk of being a victim of crime has decreased from 16.9% in 2012/13 to 14.5% in 2014/15. When compared to 2008/09, the risk of crime (measured as the proportion of adults who were the victim of crime) decreased by 5.9 percentage points from 20.4%.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

There were some differences between victimisation rates for respondent and area characteristics:

  • The risk of being a victim of a crime is higher for males (15.6%) than for females (13.6%).

  • The risk of being a victim of any crime decreased with age. One fifth (20.4%) of 16 to 24 year olds were at risk of being a victim of crime, compared with a 6.8% risk for those 60 or over.

  • Taking age and gender together, young men (aged 16-24) had the highest risk of being a victim of any crime (23.6%).

  • The risk of being a victim of crime was higher for adults living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland (21.2%), compared to those living in the rest of Scotland (13.4%).

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1 percentage points of the previous survey suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 1 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 1 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

SCJS sample sizes have fallen over recent years, and therefore the ‘Criteria for recent change’ will be reviewed after April 2016, when the SCJS sample size falls further (to around 6,000 per annum).

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Economic development bodies

Local Authorities

Scottish Courts Service

Scottish Police forces

Scottish Police Services Authority

Scottish Prison Service

Victim Support Scotland

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer

Safer and Stronger

View National Indicator Data

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