New research into robbery

In-depth study published alongside latest recorded crime figures.

Cases of muggings on Scotland’s streets have more than halved over the past decade, new research published today shows.
Robbery in public settings, by strangers, has fallen from 2,080 in 2008-09 to 860 in 2017-18. The use of a knife or other bladed/pointed articles in robbery has also dropped from an estimated 1,270 to 550 over the same period.
Teenagers and people in their twenties are also now much less likely to commit a robbery, or be a victim of one.
The research was published alongside the latest record crime statistics for 2017-18, which show 244,504 crimes recorded by the police – an increase of 1% and the second lowest level since 1974.
Since 2008-09 overall recorded crime has fallen by 35% - including a 43% fall in violent crime; a 47% fall in robbery and a 32% decrease in crimes of dishonesty.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“Scotland’s streets are now safer and less violent than they were a decade ago.
“This is due in no small part to the pioneering work across the justice system, NHS, schools and other partners to prevent crime at its source. It was also this Government which took action to introduce tougher penalties for knife crime.
“Our approach to tacking violence in our communities is now held up as a model for the rest of the world, with London introducing a Violence Reduction Unit based on the success of the Scottish public health approach.
“While any small rise in crime is disappointing, we remain focused with the police and other partners on keeping crime at historically low levels. That is why we’ve commissioned in-depth research into different aspects of violent crime - such as this robbery analysis - to help us better understand where crime is happening, why it is happening and who it is happening to.
“It is also why we have set up an expert group looking at new action to prevent sexual crime, of which we know increases are being driven by a growth in online crime, greater confidence in reporting and a long-term rise in historical cases.”
Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, Police Scotland, said:
“The number of robberies has almost halved in the past 10 years and that is testament to the hard work of police officers and staff. I'm also reassured by the fall in the number of robberies in public places.
“We continue to focus our efforts on prevention however when a crime occurs, it is treated as a priority and we will dedicate resources to ensure offenders are quickly identified and arrested. Tackling violent crime is a national priority for Police Scotland and we engage with health, education, government and the licensed trade to address this. Total recorded crime is now lower than when Police Scotland came into being five years ago.
“The increase in recorded sexual crime suggests victims feel more confident coming forward to report to us and we want to support and encourage people to continue doing this.  We will continue working with our partners and communities to improve our ability to keep people safe."
Record Crime in Scotland: Robbery, 2008-09 and 2017-18 is a study into the changing nature of police record robbery in Scotland, with new details on the characteristics of these cases based on a random sample of almost 1,000 police recorded crimes of robbery.
Other year-on-year findings from the Recorded Crime in Scotland 2017-18 publication include:
• A 13% increase in sexual crimes to 12,487, including 421 new crimes of disclosing or threatening to disclose an intimate image following the enactment of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.
• A 1% increase in non-sexual crimes of violence and crimes of dishonesty.
• A 2% decrease in crimes of fire-raising or vandalism to 51,322 – the lowest since 1978.
• A 7% fall in the number of housebreakings and a 4% fall in theft of a motor vehicle.
• A clear up rate of 49.5% for all recorded crime in 2017-18.
A procedural change was made to the recording of crime in 2017-18. Crimes of handling an offensive weapon are now included in these statistics for all cases where the weapon was used in a public place to commit a crime or offence against another person. This change has resulted in an additional 4,163 crimes of handling an offensive weapon being recorded in 2017-18.


Media enquiries

Back to top