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- Law and order
An Experimental Statistics Publication for Scotland.
Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released findings of the new Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) 2020.
The Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) 2020 is a social survey which asked people about their experiences and perceptions of crime, safety, and policing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results are based on a sample of around 2,700 telephone interviews conducted in September and October 2020. The survey is designed to be nationally representative of all private residential households in Scotland.
The extent and prevalence of crime in Scotland
There were an estimated 445,000 incidents of crime experienced by adults in Scotland between September 2019 and September 2020, including incidents not reported to the police.
Most adults (91%) were not victims of any crime between September 2019 and September 2020, with around one-in-eleven (9%) adults in Scotland experiencing crime over this time period. It is estimated that 8% of adults were victims of a property crime, and 2% experienced a violent crime. The likelihood of experiencing crime was higher for those living in urban areas, with those aged 60 and over least likely to be victims.
It is estimated that around two-thirds (67%) of all crime measured by the SVTS was property-related, with the remaining third (33%) being violent crime.
Around 3% of the adult population of Scotland experienced multiple victimisation, whereby they experienced two or more incidents of any crime. This group experienced 61% of all crime recorded by the SVTS.
An estimated 41% of crimes reported in the survey came to the attention of the police in some way.
It is estimated that approximately three-in-five (61%) crimes occurred before the start of the UK’s first national lockdown on the 23rd March 2020, and two-in-five (39%) occurred after that point. This suggests that crime fell significantly since the start of the UK’s first national lockdown (by around 35%).
Public perceptions of crime, safety, and policing since the virus outbreak
Just over half of people (54%) felt that crime in their local area had stayed about the same since the start of the UK’s first national lockdown on the 23rd March 2020.
Around three-in-four (75%) adults felt safe when walking alone in their local area after dark and most people (87%) reported no change in how safe they felt walking alone in their local area after dark since the virus outbreak.
More than nine-in-ten (91%) adults said that the COVID-19 pandemic had not changed how worried they felt about being a victim of crime. However, previous victims of crime felt more worried about being a victim of crime since the virus outbreak (19%) compared with just 5% of non-victims.
Three-in-five (60%) people believed the police in their local area were doing an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ job, and the majority of people (74%) were satisfied with the way the police in their local area were responding to the virus outbreak.
The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
The full statistical publication is available on the Scottish Government website.
This report covers 2,654 interviews conducted in September and October 2020. Experiences of crime included in this report extend over 13 months (from the start of September 2019 to the end of September 2020).
The Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) was developed as a result of all Scottish Government face-to-face interviewing, including the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), being suspended to support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The publication presents nationally representative estimates on the extent and prevalence of crime in Scotland during the pandemic, including crime not reported to the police. It also provides findings on perceptions of crime, feelings of safety and policing during this time.
Due to several key methodological differences, including survey mode and design, data from the new SVTS cannot be compared to the SCJS.
More information about the SVTS, including technical information and online data tables are available on the Scottish Government website.
As with all surveys, SVTS results are estimates, not precise figures. Because of sampling variation, differences in reported estimates between population sub-groups may occur by chance. Standard statistical tests are therefore used to examine whether differences are likely to be due to chance. Only differences that are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level are described as differences or changes within the published report.
Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff. Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland or the standards of Official Statistics in Scotland can be found on the Scottish Government website.