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Recorded Crime in Scotland 2012-13

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4. Commentary: Recorded crimes and offences in Scotland

4.1 The total number of crimes recorded by the police in 2012-13 was 273,053, 13% lower than in 2011-12 (Chart 1 and Table 1). The total remains well below the 2004-05 figure of 438,123 and is the lowest number recorded since 1974.

Chart 2: Crimes recorded by the police by crime group, 19711 to 1994 then 1995-96 to 2012-13

Chart 2: Crimes recorded by the police by crime group, 1971 to 1994 then 1995-96 to 2012-13

1. Crimes recorded for the present crime groups are not available prior to 1971.

4.2 The number of Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police decreased by 21% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, to total 7,530. (Chart 2 and Table 1). Within this category, the number of crimes of Homicide recorded (which includes Murder, and Culpable homicide, which includes Causing death by dangerous driving, Causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, Causing death by careless driving, Illegal driver involved in fatal accident and Corporate homicide), decreased by 25% to 91. Recorded Attempted murder and serious assault decreased by 22% to 3,643 and recorded Robberies decreased by 18% to total 1,832. Other Non-sexual crimes of violence decreased by 21% from 2,475 to 1,964, mainly driven by a decrease in the number of crimes of Threats and extortion, and Child cruelty.

4.3 The number of crimes in the Sexual offences group increased by 5% from 7,361 in 2011-12 to 7,693 in 2012-13 (Chart 2 and Table 1). Crimes of Rape and attempted rape increased by 15% and crimes of Sexual assault and Other sexual offences each increased by 3%. Offences associated with prostitution decreased by 6%. The implementation of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 on 1 December 2010, resulted in a redistribution of Group 2 crimes among the subcategories. Comparisons over time of the breakdown of Sexual offences should therefore be treated with caution.

4.4 The number of Crimes of dishonesty decreased by 12%, to stand at 135,899 crimes in 2012-13 (Chart 2 and Table 1). All subcategories of Crimes of dishonesty decreased with the exception of Fraud and of Other crimes of dishonesty which both remained broadly the same as in 2011-12. Theft from a motor vehicle by opening a lockfast place (OLP) decreased by 31% to 6,159, Theft of a motor vehicle decreased by 19% to 5,731, Other theft decreased by 12% to stand at 58,704. Housebreaking and shoplifting each decreased by 11% to stand at 21,515 and 26,449 respectively and Theft by opening a lockfast place (OLP) decreased by 8% to 3,239.

4.5 Recorded cases of Fire-raising, vandalism etc. decreased by 21% to total 59,479 in 2012-13 (Chart 2 and Table 1). Within this category, the number of crimes recorded within the Fire-raising subcategory decreased by 18% to stand at 3,066 in 2012-13. The number of crimes in the Vandalism etc. subcategory decreased by 21% from 71,446 in 2011-12 to 56,413 in 2012-13.

4.6 There was a decrease of 8% in the Other crimes group (Chart 2 and Table 1). In recent years, there has been a notable decrease in the number of crimes of Handling an offensive weapon, which fell by 29% to stand at 4,015 in 2012-13. Recorded Drug crimes decreased by 1% from 35,157 in 2011-12 to 34,688 in 2012-13. This decrease was driven by a 29% decrease in the crimes of Possession of drugs with intent to supply. There was an increase of 3% in the crimes of possession of drugs recorded, from 28,326 in 2011-12 to 29,150 in 2012-13. (Table A7).

4.7 In 2012-13, the number of crimes of Domestic housebreaking recorded per 10,000 population was highest in Glasgow City (50), Edinburgh City (47), Dundee City (41) and Aberdeen City (40). Rural areas recorded much lower levels with Orkney Islands (2), Eilean Siar (1) and Shetland Islands (1) recording the lowest level of Domestic housebreaking per 10,000 population in 2012-13 (Chart 5 and Table 8).

4.8 There was a decrease of 10% in the number of crimes cleared up by the police from 155,264 in 2011-12 to 140,083 in 2012-13 (Table A1). However, the clear up rate of crimes (Table 3), has increased by 2 percentage points to 51%. This follows a four year period where the crime clear up rate remained at 49%.

4.9 In 2012-13, the clear up rate for Non-sexual crimes of violence was higher than in 2011-12, increasing from 75% to 79% (Table 3). The rate for Fire-raising, vandalism etc. and for miscellaneous offences each increased by 2 percentage points to 27% and 86% respectively. The rate for Sexual offences and Crimes of dishonesty each increased by 1 percentage point between 2011-12 and 2012-13 to 68% and 38% respectively. The clear up rate for Other crimes remained constant at 98%. This has remained at the same level since 2007-08.

Chart 3: Clear up rates for crimes recorded by the police by crime group, 19761 to 1994 then 1995-96 to 2012-13

Clear up rates for crimes recorded by the police by crime group, 19761 to 1994 then 1995-96 to 2012-13

1. Clear up rates for the present crime groups are not available prior to 1976.

4.10 The number of offences recorded increased by less than 1%, from 542,315 in 2011-12 to 543,768 in 2012-13 (Chart 1 and Table 2). The number of Miscellaneous offences recorded decreased by 3% in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12, driven largely by a 12% decrease in Common assault. The number of Drunkenness offences decreased by 2% and Breach of the peace offences (which includes offences of Threatening or abusive behaviour, Offence of stalking, Offensive behaviour at football and Threatening communications (Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012)) decreased by 1%.

4.11 The number of Motor vehicle offences increased by 3% between 2011-12 and 2012-13. The increase was driven by an increase in Speeding offences. Speeding offences increased from 125,221 in 2011-12 to 128,936 in 2012-13, an increase of 3%. There was also a 7% increase in Dangerous and careless driving offences which increased from 9,853 in 2011-12 to 10,530 in 2012-13.