People feel safer in their communities

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2018-19.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has welcomed official figures showing Scotland has become a safer place over the last decade following large falls in both overall crime and the likelihood of being a victim, a major survey has confirmed.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS 2018-19) of more than 5,500 adults – which includes incidents not reported to the police – shows that people are less likely to experience crime than in 2008-09 and they feel safer in their communities.

Overall crime in Scotland has fallen by 45% since 2008-09, while violent crime has almost halved (down by 48%) over the same period.

One-in-eight (12.4%) adults in Scotland experienced crime in 2018-19, compared to one-in-five (20.4%) in 2008-09 – a rate that remains lower than England and Wales with an equivalent figure of 14.9%. The proportion of adults experiencing violence has fallen from 4.1% in 2008/09 to 2.2%.

Victimisation rates continued to vary among the population in 2018-19. The likelihood of experiencing any crime was higher among those living in the 15% most deprived and urban areas, and lower for those aged 60 and over. There was no significant difference in the proportion of men and women who were victims.

Repeat violent victimisation – where someone was a victim of at least two violent incidents – fell from 1.6% in 2008-09 to 0.7% in 2018-19. This group experienced around 60% of all violent crime.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: 

“While it is encouraging that Scotland remains a safer place than a decade ago, with fewer victims of crime, there is no room for complacency.

“Our firm focus on early intervention and prevention, including through widely-recognised anti-violence initiatives such as the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, No Knives Better Lives and Medics Against Violence, have been, and continue to be, critical to our efforts to keep crime down and communities safe.

“We continue to invest in Scotland’s excellent police service and in communities themselves – through education and a range of projects, to help people to stay safe, to steer those at risk of being drawn into crime away from it and to support those with convictions to turn away from offending.

“Where people do fall victim to crime, the Scottish Government has been investing millions of pounds and implementing reforms to strengthen how the justice system, wider public services and other organisations can support them.”

The survey also included findings from questions on people’s experience of cyber fraud or computer misuse. These covered a broad range of activity, from being sent a scam email through to theft of bank details – with the first results suggesting one-in-five adults (20.4%) experienced this in 2018-19.

 Most victims said that cyber fraud and computer misuse incidents had no impact on them, but they reported having changed some of their online behaviours as a result.

The publication of this information marks an important step in enhancing the evidence base on cyber crime in Scotland. The Scottish Government is working closely with Police Scotland, and other partners, to raise awareness of cyber risks and how to become more resilient online, through a number of campaigns and educational interventions.


The full statistical publication, drawn from interviews between April 2018 and May 2019, is available on the Scottish Government website.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey is one of the Scottish Government’s flagship national surveys. The survey allows the people of Scotland to independently report their experiences and perceptions of crime, and influence the continued development and improvement of the Scottish Justice system.

New for 2018-19 are results relating to experiences of cyber fraud or computer misuse. These questions represent an important step in developing the cyber crime evidence base in Scotland. The Scottish Government welcomes feedback from users on this data, including how to maximise the contribution it makes to the evidence base on cyber crime, and areas for future development. These results will also be used to inform the evaluation of the current cyber strategy for Scotland.


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