Recorded crime decrease
Fewer victims and people feel safer.
Scotland saw a 2% fall in the number of crimes recorded by police last year – to one of the lowest levels seen for any 12-month period since comparable records began, in 1974.
Newly-published National Statistics show that Police Scotland recorded 287,678 crimes in the year ending December 2022 compared to 292,316 crimes in the previous 12 months – and 4% lower than the year to December 2018.
The overall number of crimes recorded remains lower than before the pandemic, reflecting the long-term trend of fewer victims and people feeling safer in communities – highlighted separately in annual Scottish Crime and Justice Surveys that include incidents not reported to police, as well as those which are.
Compared to the year-ending 2018 there were notable reductions in damage and reckless behaviour (down 10%) and housebreaking (down 38%).
Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:
“These figures show Scotland continues to be a safe place to live with recorded crime at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.
“Most people do not experience crime and these latest figures show reductions in incidents such as housebreaking and vandalism compared to pre-pandemic levels. This welcome trend reflects separate research showing people in Scotland are significantly less likely to be a victim of crime than those living in England and Wales. People here also feel safe walking in their communities during the evening.
“We recognise that there is still work to be done, which is why we have taken robust action to tackle sexual offending and have invested £93 million over the past five years to ensure that victims' rights and needs are at the centre of Scotland’s criminal justice system. We also know the harm cyber-crime and fraud can inflict on communities and support the efforts of Police Scotland and partners in tackling these kinds of crime.
“Nonetheless, these historically low levels of crime are testimony to the continued efforts across policing, justice and community safety partners to deliver a safer Scotland for everyone.”
Recorded Crime in Scotland, year ending December 2022 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
The overall reduction in recorded crime is reflected in the Scottish Crime & Justice Survey for 2019-20, published March 2021, which indicated that one in eight (11.9%) adults were victims of crime in 2019-20 – significantly less than the one in five who were victims of crime for the period 2008-09 (20.4%).
The survey also showed that 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. Over the same period, 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%.
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