Crime falls by more than 40% in a decade

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017-18.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has welcomed a 16% fall crime in Scotland since 2016-17.

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) 2017-18 figures – including incidents not reported to police – show that crime is at the lowest level ever estimated by the survey, and violent crime has almost halved since 2008-09.

Less than one in a hundred people (0.7%) experienced more than one violent crime in 2017-18 and this group accounted for three-fifths of all violent crime. The proportion of alcohol-related violent crime is also estimated to be down by around a quarter since 2008/09.

Mr Yousaf said:

“Given Scotland’s sustained commitment to prevention, responsive policing and local partnerships, I welcome these encouraging findings on long-term crime trends and how safe people feel in their communities. Tackling alcohol-related harm has been a pivotal part of our pioneering public health approach to reducing violent crime over the last decade and it is heartening to see a fall in alcohol-related violence.

“I remain concerned about the level of repeat victimisation, and that people in the most deprived communities are more likely to experience violence. While these findings are not new, we must not simply accept them as a ‘fact of life’, and we will continue our work to further understand and reduce violence wherever it persists.

“Soon we will publish the findings from research into serious assault crimes and repeat violent victimisation to help police, local and national government and other agencies as we work together to make all of Scotland’s communities safer for everyone.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • One in eight (12.5% of) adults in Scotland experienced a crime in 2017-18, compared to one in five (20.4%) in 2008-09, and compared to an equivalent victimisation rate in England & Wales of 14.4% in 2017-18
  • Property crime, which constitutes most offences committed against adults in Scotland, including vandalism and housebreaking, fell by 41% between 2008-09 and 2017-18
  • The rate of repeat violent victimisation has fallen from 1.6% in 2008-09 to 0.7% in 2017-18.
  • 77% of adults felt safe walking alone after dark – an increase of 11 percentage points since 2008-09
  • The majority of adults (57%) said that the police were doing a good or excellent job in their local area
  • 15.6% of adults said they had experienced at least one incident of partner abuse since the age of 16
  • Cannabis was the most commonly taken drug in the last 12 months and of people who had taken drugs over their lifetime, 16 to 19 was the most common age range to first try drugs


Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017-18 is based on interviews with around 5,500 adults about incidents over the previous year, whether or not reported to police.


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