Publication - Statistics

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Main Findings

Published: 15 Mar 2016
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781786521026

Main findings from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15.

120 page PDF

4.8 MB

120 page PDF

4.8 MB

Contents
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Main Findings
7. Public Perceptions of Crime

120 page PDF

4.8 MB

7. Public Perceptions of Crime

Perceptions of local/national crime rate

7.1. Introduction

Understanding the links between perceptions of crime and community safety is important to policy makers in Scotland. One of the key indicators in the Scottish Government's national performance framework, 'Scotland Performs'[26] is the public's perception of the general crime rate in the local area. As a result, various questions exploring perceptions of crime and worry about crime are included in the SCJS and the results are presented in this chapter within the context of the actual risk of becoming a victim. The chapter also examines harassment and discrimination.

7.2. Perceptions of Crime

Scotland Performs measures and reports on the progress of government in Scotland in creating a more successful country. The SCJS is used to monitor the following national indicator:

'improve people's perceptions of the crime rate in their area'

The national indicator is measured by the percentage of adults who believe that crime has stayed the same or reduced in the past two years in their local area. The baseline year for the national performance indicator is 2006.

7.2.1. Perceptions of the Local Crime Rate

Following an increase between 2006 (65%) and 2012/13 (76%), the proportion of adults who perceived the crime rate in their local area to have stayed the same or reduced in the past two years has not changed since 2012/13; the apparent one percentage point decrease to 75% in 2014/15 is not a statistically significant change.

Figure 7.1 Perceptions of how local crime rates have changed in the past two years (Scottish Crime Surveys)

Figure 7.1 Perceftions of how local crime rates have changed in the past two years

Base: Adults who had lived in local area for two years or more, SCS 2000 (4,510); 2003 (4,440); SCVS 2006 (4,430); SCJS 2008/09 (14,210); 2009/10 (14,380); 2010/11 (11,700), 2012/13 (10,640), 2014/15 (10,050).

Variable name: QS2AREA

Note: There was a break in the survey methodology from 2008/09, moving to a rolling reference period, increased sample size and continuous fieldwork until a move to a biennial design for 2012/13

Examining changes between 2006 and 2014/15 in more detail, there has been a decrease in the percentage of adults who think that there is a lot more crime in their area than there was two years earlier (6% in 2014/15 compared to 13% in 2006) and an increase in the percentage of people who think that the local crime rate has stayed the same (62% in 2014/15 compared to 57% in 2006).

Table 7.1 shows the differences in perceptions of the local crime rate, broken down by respondent characteristics. Those who were a victim of crime were more likely than non-victims to think that there was a little or a lot more crime in their area than there was two years earlier (32% compared to 18% for non-victims). However, there was more consistency in the results from respondents from the 15% most deprived areas and those from the rest of Scotland.

Table 7.1 Public perceptions of how the local crime rate has changed (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of adults who had lived in local area for two years or more There is ‘about the same’ or ‘less’ crime in this area than two years ago There is ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’ more crime in this area than two years ago Number of Respondents
All 75 20 10,050
Male 77 18 4,520
16-24 81 13 310
25-44 74 21 1,170
45-59 77 19 1,250
60 or over 79 15 1,780
Female 72 22 5,540
16-24 74 23 320
25-44 69 25 1,520
45-59 73 23 1,480
60 or over 74 18 2,230
Victim of crime
Yes 63 32 1,330
No 77 18 8,720
Deprivation
Living in 15% most deprived areas 74 22 1,460
Living in rest of Scotland 75 20 8,590

Variable names: QS2AREA

7.2.2. Perceptions of the National Crime Rate

As well as being asked about their perceptions of crime in their local area, respondents were asked about how they thought the crime rate had changed in Scotland as a whole over the last two years.

Figure 7.2 compares opinions of how the national crime rate has changed with opinions of how the local crime rate has changed over the last two years. Survey respondents were more likely to think that the crime rate in Scotland had increased (34%), compared to the crime rate in their local area (20%). In contrast, respondents were more likely to think that the crime rate in their local area had stayed the same (62%), compared to the crime rate in Scotland as a whole (39%).

Since 2009/10 (when respondents were first asked about the national crime rate) there has been an increase in the percentage of people who think that the national crime rate has stayed the same or reduced (54% in 2014/15 compared to 46% in 2012/13 and 40% in 2009/10).

Figure 7.2 Perceptions of crime rates nationally and locally (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 7.2 Perceptions of crime rates nationally and locally (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Adults (11,470); Adults who have lived in the local area for two years or more (10,050)

Variable name: QS2AREAS and QS2AREA

Box 7.1 Public Perceptions of Crime (CSEW, 2013/14)

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) has asked the public a range of similar questions about their perceptions of crime, including people's perception of crime in their local area and in the country as a whole. The latest published findings (from 2013/14) are available on the ONS webpage[27], however it should be noted that the questions asked on this topic in CSEW and SCJS are different.

7.2.3. Perceptions of Types of Crime

As well as being asked about the local crime rate, respondents were asked how common they thought certain crimes were in their area. Drug dealing or drug abuse was considered to be the most common crime, with 42% considering it to be fairly or very common in their local area. Figure 7.3 gives an overview of the crimes that respondents thought were most common.

Figure 7.3 Perceptions of how common certain crimes are locally (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 7.3 Perceptions of how common certain crimes are locally (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Adults answering module A (2,850)
Variable name: QACO

7.2.4. Action Taken to Reduce Risk

Figure 7.4 highlights some of the precautions that respondents had done or had in place in the last year to try and reduce the risk that they would become a victim of crime. The most common behaviour was not to leave their home empty, or to leave a light on (32%), or to ensure that valuables are concealed on their person, in their car or at home (31%).

Figure 7.4 Actions taken to reduce the risk of crime (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 7.4 Actions taken to reduce the risk of crime (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Adults (2,850)
Variable name: QDONE

7.3. Public Anxiety about Crime

7.3.1. Fear of Crime

Respondents are asked 'how safe do you feel walking alone in your local area after dark'. This question is commonly used to measure public fear of crime. Across Scotland, the majority (74%) feel fairly or very safe walking alone at night after dark. In England and Wales, the same percentage of adults (74%) felt very or fairly safe walking alone at night[28]. The proportion of adults who felt safe has improved by two percentage points since 2012/13, and by eight percentage points since 2008/09.

Table 7.2 provides a breakdown of the latest results by demographics characteristics. The proportion of those who felt fairly or very safe was lower in the 15% most deprived areas (62%) and among those who are victims of crime (67%). Females were less likely than males to report feeling fairly or very safe (64% compared to 86%).

Table 7.2 Feelings of safety when walking alone after dark (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of adults Very safe Fairly safe A bit unsafe Very unsafe Number of Respondents
All 40 35 16 9 11,470
Male 53 33 10 4 5,180
16-24 52 36 10 3 430
25-44 55 34 8 3 1,530
45-59 55 31 9 4 1,360
60 or over 50 31 12 6 1,860
Female 27 36 21 14 6,290
16-24 23 43 23 12 500
25-44 30 39 21 10 1,880
45-59 30 38 20 11 1,610
60 or over 24 30 22 21 2,300
Victim of crime
Yes 33 34 19 14 1,550
No 41 35 15 8 9,920
Deprivation
Living in 15% most deprived areas 27 35 20 16 1,690
Living in rest of Scotland 42 34 15 8 9,780

Variable names: QSFDARK

Respondents are also asked how safe they feel when alone in their home after dark. The majority of adults (94%) felt fairly or very safe. Table 7.3 provides a breakdown of the latest results by key demographics. Again, female respondents were more likely to say that they felt unsafe (9%) compared to males (3%).

Table 7.3 Feelings of safety when home alone after dark (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of adults Very safe Fairly safe A bit unsafe Very unsafe Number of Respondents
All 74 20 4 2 11,470
Male 82 14 1 2 5,180
16-24 84 14 1 1 430
25-44 83 14 2 1 1,530
45-59 82 14 1 2 1,360
60 or over 82 15 1 1 1,860
Female 66 25 7 2 6,290
16-24 55 30 12 4 500
25-44 66 25 7 2 1,880
45-59 68 24 6 2 1,610
60 or over 69 24 5 2 2,300
Victim of crime
Yes 64 26 7 3 1,550
No 75 19 4 2 9,920
Deprivation
Living in 15% most deprived areas 65 25 7 2 1,690
Living in rest of Scotland 75 19 4 2 9,780

Variable names: QSFNIGH

7.3.2. Worry about Crime Types

To better understand public anxiety about crime, respondents were asked how much they worried about a range of crimes happening to them, and how likely they thought it was that they would be a victim of certain crimes in the next year.

Figure 7.5 provides an overview of the latest data. Adults were most worried that someone would use their credit card or bank details (54%) or that their identity would be stolen (45%).

Figure 7.5 Worry that specific crimes will happen (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 7.5 Worry that specific crimes will happen (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Adults (11,470); Adults in households with regular use of a motor vehicle (8,420)
Variable name: QWORR

7.3.3. Perceived likelihood of being a victim of crime

The survey also asked respondents which of the crimes, if any, they thought they were likely to experience in the next year. Figure 7.6 shows that respondents thought that someone using their credit card/bank details was most likely to happen in the next year (17%). However, most respondents (55%) did not think that it was likely that they would experience any of the listed crimes in the next 12 months.

Figure 7.6 Crimes that adults think are likely to happen to them in the next 12 months (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 7.6 Crimes that adults think are likely to happen to them in the next 12 months (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Adults (11,470)
Variable name: QHAPP

7.3.4. Perceived and Actual Risk of crime

Adults' perceptions of how likely they are to be the victims of some types of crime can be compared with their actual risk (calculated using the victimisation rates in Chapter 4).

In most cases, the perceived risk was around two to three times higher than the actual risk (Figure 7.7). For example, 9.9% of adults thought that is was likely that their car would be damaged by vandals in the next 12 months, however the risk of this was only 3.4%. For some types of crime, the difference was even greater. For example, 8.1% thought that it was likely that their home would be broken into, however, prevalence figures show the risk of this happening to be 0.8%.

Figure 7.7 Perceived risk versus actual risk of being a victim of a crime (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 7.7 Perceived risk versus actual risk of being a victim of a crime (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Adults (11,470)
Variable name: QHAPP and prevalence variables[29]

7.4. Trends in Public Perceptions of Crime

Figure 7.8 Percentage of adults who believe particular crimes are 'very' or 'fairly common' in their local area (SCJS)

Figure 7.8 Percentage of adults who believe particular crimes are very or fairly common in their local area (SCJS)

SCJS 2008/09 (4,030); 2009/10 (4,000); 2010/11 (3,220); 2012/13 (3,020); 2014/15 (11,470)
Variable name: QACO

Note: 'Deliberate damage to property/vehicles' was split in 2012/13 to consider separately 'Deliberate damage to cars or other vehicles' and 'Deliberate damage to peoples home by vandals'

In 2014/15 adults perceived most of these particular crimes to be less common in their local area than in the past. Figure 7.8 shows trends since 2008/09. Since 2008/09, the largest decreases have been for:

  • Violence between groups of individuals or gangs, which has fallen by 12 percentage points since 2008/09.
  • People behaving in an anti-social manner, which has fallen by 11 percentage points since 2008/09.

Both of these changes are statistically significant.

Figure 7.9 Percentage of respondents 'very' or 'fairly worried' about particular crimes (SCJS)

Figure 7.9 Percentage of respondents very or fairly worried about particular crimes (SCJS)

Base: Adults; SCJS 2008/09 (16,000); 2009/10 (16,040); 2010/11 (12,010); 2012/13 (12,050)
Variable name: QWORR

In addition to being asked for their perceptions of how common crimes were respondents were also asked how worried they were that specific crimes would happen to them. For example, the proportion of women worried about being sexually assaulted has fallen from 24% in 2008/09 to 13% in 2014/15.

7.5. Harassment and Discrimination

Respondents were asked a series of questions about any incidents in which they may have been insulted, pestered or intimidated in any way. This was clarified as being undertaken by anybody who is not a member of their household, either in person or by some other means (such as in writing or through electronic communications).

Just under one-in-ten adults (9%) said they had been harassed in some way in 2014/15. There was a marked relationship with age - the proportion of adults saying they had been harassed in the previous 12 months decreasing from 12% for those aged 16-24 down to 3% for those aged 60 and over. Of those who had been harassed, the vast majority (81%) of adults said this was through verbal abuse directed towards them, whilst around a third (29%) said it included threats of violence. Table 7.4 gives an overview of the findings on harassment.

Table 7.4 Harassment experienced in the last 12 month by age (SCJS 2014/15)

Adults 16-24 25-44 45-59 60+ All
Yes (in person or by some other means) 12 11 10 3 9
Verbal abuse 91 80 75 77 81
Threats of physical violence 36 28 32 9 29
Something being thrown 10 12 1 2 7
Being pushed 12 9 4 1 7
Being obstructed 5 8 4 5 6
Other forms of physical violence 10 5 4 0 5
Vandalism to their property 4 7 7 0 6
Being stalked by someone 1 3 4 2 3
Other 8 12 21 21 15
No 88 88 90 97 91
Number of Respondents 490 1,710 1,500 2,050 5,750

Variable name: QAINSUL and QHWHAT2

Respondents who had experienced harassment were asked what they thought had motivated the offender (see Table 7.5). The majority of victims (69%) were unable to say if this was due to any particular reason. One in ten victims of harassment thought that it was because of their ethnic origin or race, while 6% thought that they were harassed because of their gender or gender identity.

Table 7.5 What harassment may have been motivated by (SCJS, 2014/15)

Adults who had been insulted, pestered or intimated in last 12 months Male Female 16-24 25-44 45-59 60+ All
Ethnic origin / Race 10 9 11 13 4 11 10
Gender / Gender identity 2 9 8 8 4 1 6
Age 3 4 4 4 1 10 4
Disability / Condition 2 4 2 4 3 3 3
Sectarianism 4 2 1 4 1 7 3
Religion 3 1 4 2 0 2 2
Sexual orientation 1 1 1 2 1 1 1
None of those above 71 68 61 66 82 62 69
Don't know
Number of Respondents 190 290 50 200 150 70 470

Variable name: QHDISCRIM2


Contact

Email: Trish Brady-Campbell