4. Commentary: Recorded crime in Scotland
4.1 The total number of crimes recorded by the police in 2005/06 was 417,785, 5 per cent less than in 2004/05 (see chart 1 and table 1). Apart from an increase in 2004/05, an anticipated effect of the introduction of the SCRS, levels of recorded crimes have generally been decreasing, and 2003/04 was the only year with a lower level of recorded crime for nearly a quarter of a century.
Chart 2 Crimes recorded by the police by crime group, 1976 - 1994 then 1995/96 - 2005/06
4.2 The number of non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police decreased by a further 7 per cent between 2004/05 and 2005/06, to total 13,726, which is the lowest level since 1997/98 (see chart 2 and table 1). Within this category recorded robberies decreased by 5 per cent to total 3,553, the lowest level for over 25 years. Other non-sexual crimes of violence decreased by 6 per cent from 3,224 to 3,022, while the number of serious assaults etc. (which includes crimes of murder and attempted murder) recorded decreased by 8 per cent to 7,151, with Strathclyde accounting for most of the decrease.
4.3 The number of crimes in the indecency group decreased from 7,324 in 2004/05 to 6,558 in 2005/06, a 10 per cent decrease (see chart 2 and table 1). Within this group recorded cases of rape and attempted rape increased by 5 per cent to reach 1,161, the highest number ever recorded. This partially reflects pro-active efforts by the police to encourage the reporting of such crimes, including those that have occurred in the past. Cases of indecent assault increased by 1 per cent to 1,508 in 2005/06 and the number of crimes of lewd and indecent behaviour decreased by 5 per cent to 2,651 in 2005/06. The number of crimes recorded in the "other" sub-group decreased by 36 per cent to total 1,238 in 2005/06.
4.4 The number of crimes of dishonesty decreased for the seventh consecutive year, by 11 per cent, to stand at 187,798 cases in 2005/06 (see chart 2 and table 1). Three categories of crimes of dishonesty showed particularly large decreases. These were housebreaking, theft from a motor vehicle by opening a lockfast place and fraud. The number of housebreakings fell by 10 per cent during 2005/06, reflecting decreases in both domestic and non-domestic premises, and at 31,319 is nearly one half of the level recorded in the early 1990's. Thefts from motor vehicles decreased by 19 per cent to 16,453 and frauds decreased by 40 per cent to 11,074. It is thought that one major reason for this has been the introduction of 'chip and pin'.
4.5 Recorded cases of vandalism (including fire-raising and malicious mischief) decreased by one per cent to total 127,889 in 2005/06 (see chart 2 and table 1).
4.6 Within the other crimes group, crimes of handling an offensive weapon increased by 1 per cent to 9,628 in 2005/06 (see chart 2 and table 1). Recorded drugs crimes increased by 6 per cent from 41,823 in 2004/05 to 44,247 in 2005/06, following a small reverse in 2004/05 in the trend seen over the last few years. The 8 per cent increase in crimes against public justice reflects an increase in the granting (and enforcement of) additional bail conditions in order to provide safeguards over and above the standard bail conditions.
4.7 The number of crimes cleared up by the police decreased by 2 per cent from 195,203 in 2004/05 to 190,918 in 2005/06 (see chart 3 and table A1), although this is in the context of an overall decrease in the number of crimes recorded. Clear up rates for the different crime groups mentioned previously show little change to those for 2004/05, with the exception of that for vandalism, which has increased by one and a half percentage points.
Chart 3 Clear up rates for crimes recorded by the police by crime group, 1976 - 1994 then 1995/96 - 2005/06
Clear up rates by crime by crime group, 1976 - 1994 then 1995/96 - 2005/06
4.8 The number of offences recorded by the police decreased by 6 per cent from 632,982 in 2004/05 to 593,816 in 2005/06, with an increase in only one of the four categories of miscellaneous offences (see chart 1 and table 2). This was largely due to significant increases in the number of offences recorded of urinating and consumption of alcohol in designated places. Motor vehicle offences recorded declined overall, largely due to a decrease of 20 per cent in recorded speeding offences.
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