Crime remains at historically low-levels

Delivering a safer Scotland for everyone.

Scotland continues to be a safe place to live with recorded crime remaining at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.

The Recorded Crime in Scotland 2022-23 National Statistics present a stable picture with violent crime recorded by officers down 1% on the previous year with 1,161 fewer cases of damage and reckless behaviour.

Crimes of dishonesty (such as theft, shoplifting and housebreaking) are at their third lowest level since 1971. The statistics, covering crimes recorded by the police, show a 13% fall in crimes overall over the last 10 years – 42,277 fewer than in 2013-14.

Sexual crimes decreased 3% over the last year but remain under-reported. The Scottish Government recognises more needs to be done to support victims to report these crimes and to improve their experience within the criminal justice system.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said:

“These figures show Scotland continues to be a safe place to live with recorded crime remaining at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974. These latest figures show reductions in crimes such as violence and damage and reckless behaviour.

“While most people do not experience crime, we recognise the impact caused to those who do. These figures show, while significant progress is being made, there is more we need to do to reduce the harm caused by crime.

“That is why we are taking robust action to tackle sexual offending in particular, while investing £93 million over the past five years to ensure that victims' rights and needs are at the centre of the criminal justice system. We also recently launched a violence prevention strategy and are supporting Police Scotland with £1.45 billion investment in 2023-24.

“These continued low levels of crime are testimony to the efforts across policing, justice and community safety partners to deliver a safer Scotland for everyone.”


Equally Safe is the Scottish Government strategy on gender-based violence to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. This is backed by £19 million of annual funding to support 121 projects from 112 organisations that focus on early intervention, prevention, as well as support services.

The National Statistics show police recorded crime. Further context is provided by the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), published in March 2021, which includes incidents not reported to the police. It sought the views of around 5,600 adults living in private households. It found people living in Scotland are less likely to be victims of crime than in England and Wales, where 13.3% of adults were victims of crime in 2019-20.

The SCJS also shows that from 2008-09 to 2019-20, the proportion of adults in Scotland who felt safe walking alone after dark in their local area increased from 66% to 77%. Findings of the next survey, for the year ending December 2022, are due to be published in the Autumn.


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