4. Commentary: Recorded crime in Scotland
4.1 The total number of crimes recorded by the police in 2011-12 was 314,186, 3% lower than in 2010-11 (Chart 1 and Table 1). The total remains well below the 2004-05 figure of 438,123 and is the lowest number recorded since 1975.
1. Crimes recorded for the present crime groups are not available prior to 1971.
4.2 The number of Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police decreased by 17% between 2010-11 and 2011-12 to total 9,533. (Chart 2 and Table 1). Within this category, the number of crimes of Attempted murder and serious assault recorded decreased by 15% to 4,693 and recorded Robberies decreased by 12% to total 2,244. Other non-sexual crimes of violence decreased by 24% from 3,266 to 2,475, mainly driven by a decrease in the number of crimes of Threats and extortion, and Child cruelty. The number of Homicides recorded by the police (which includes Murder, and Culpable homicide, which includes Causing death by dangerous driving, Causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, Causing death by careless driving and Corporate homicide) fell by 1 between 2010-11 and 2011-12 to 121.
4.3 The number of crimes in the Sexual offences group increased by 10% from 6,696 in 2010-11 to 7,359 in 2011-12 (Chart 2 and Table 1). Crimes of Rape and attempted rape and Other sexual offences increased by 13% and 48% respectively, while crimes of Sexual assault and Offences associated with prostitution decreased by 10% and 2% respectively. The implementation of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 on 1 December 2010, resulted in a redistribution of Group 2 crimes among the subcategories. Comparisons over time of the breakdown of Sexual offences should therefore be treated with caution.
4.4 The number of Crimes of dishonesty decreased by 1%, to stand at 154,337 crimes in 2011-12 (Chart 2 and Table 1). The decrease can be largely attributed to four subcategories of Crimes of dishonesty. Housebreaking decreased by 3% to stand at 24,222, Theft by opening a lockfast place (OLP) decreased by 13% to stand at 3,529, Theft from a motor vehicle by OLP decreased by 5% to 8,988 and Theft of a motor vehicle decreased by 19% to 7,060. These decreases were offset by an increase in the number of crimes of Other theft recorded, where there was an increase of 3% from 64,680 in 2010-11 to 66,681 in 2011-12.
4.5 Recorded cases of Vandalism (including Fire-raising and Malicious mischief) decreased by 8% to total 75,201 in 2011-12 (Chart 2 and Table 1). Within this category, the number of crimes recorded within the Fire-raising subcategory decreased by 5% to stand at 3,755 in 2011-12. The number of crimes in the Vandalism etc. subcategory decreased by 8% from 78,054 in 2010-11 to 71,446 in 2011-12.
4.6 There was an increase of 1% in the Other crimes group (Chart 2 and Table 1). Recorded Drug crimes increased by 2% from 34,347 in 2010-11 to 35,157 in 2011-12. This increase was driven by a 5% increase in the crimes of Possession of drugs. In 2011-12 there were 28,326 crimes of Possession of drugs recorded compared to 26,960 in 2010-11 (Table A6). For the third year in a row there was a notable decrease in the number of crimes of Handling an offensive weapon, which fell by 10% to stand at 5,631 in 2011-12.
4.7 The number of crimes of Domestic housebreaking recorded per 10,000 population was highest in North Ayrshire (56), Glasgow City (53), Inverclyde (52) and Renfrewshire (51) in 2011-12. Rural areas recorded much lower levels with Orkney Islands (1), Eilean Siar (5) and Shetland Islands (8) recording the lowest level of Domestic housebreaking per 10,000 population in 2011-12 (Chart 5 and Table 8).
4.8 There was a decrease of 1% in the number of crimes cleared up by the police from 156,943 in 2010-11 to 155,264 in 2011-12 (Table A1). However, the clear up rate of crimes (Table 3), has remained at 49% for the fourth year in a row.
4.9 The clear-up rate in 2011-12 for Non-sexual crimes of violence was higher than in 2010-11, increasing from 72% to 75% (Table 3). The rate for Sexual offences increased by 1 percentage point between 2010-11 and 2011-12 to 67%. The clear up rate for Miscellaneous offences also increased by 1 percentage point to 84% in 2011-12 compared to 2010-11. The clear up rates for Crimes of dishonesty, Vandalism (including Fire-raising and Malicious mischief) and for Other crimes all remained at the same level in 2011-12 as in 2010-11.
1. Clear up rates for the present crime groups are not available prior to 1976.
4.10 The number of offences recorded increased by 3% from 530,249 in 2010-11 to 544,033 in 2011-12 (Chart 1 and Table 2). The number of Miscellaneous offences recorded increased marginally in 2011-12 compared to 2010-11, the increase was less than 1%. Within Miscellaneous offences the number of Common assault offences and Other miscellaneous offences decreased by 2% and 1% respectively. The number of Breach of the peace offences (which includes offences of Threatening or abusive behaviour, Offence of stalking, Offensive behaviour at football and Threatening communications (Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012)) increased by 4%. The number of Motor vehicle offences increased by 4% between 2010-11 and 2011-12. The increase was driven by an increase in Speeding offences and Vehicle defect offences. Speeding offences increased from 114,129 in 2010-11 to 125,221 in 2011-12, an increase of 10%. The increase in Vehicle defect offences was also 10% where the number of offences increased from 21,921 in 2010-11 to 24,094 in 2011-12.
Email: Neil Henderson