Damage and reckless behaviour
Damage and reckless behaviour accounted for 15% of all crime recorded in Scotland in 2022-23. Between 2021-22 and 2022-23, the number of crimes of Damage and reckless behaviour recorded by the police decreased by 3%, from 44,284 to 43,123. The recording of these crimes is at the second lowest level seen since 1976.
Chart 11 shows the number of crimes of Damage and reckless behaviour from 1971 onwards. These crimes increased for a long period, but a sharp downward trend started after they peaked in 2006-07 (129,734 crimes). This includes a 21% fall over the last ten years since 2013-14.
The national rate of recorded crimes of Damage and reckless behaviour was 79 per 10,000 population in 2022-23, a slight decrease from 81 per 10,000 population in 2021-22, but identical to 2020-21.
In 2022-23, of all crimes of Damage and reckless conduct:
- Vandalism accounted for the clear majority, at 86%
- Reckless conduct accounted for 7%
- Fire-raising accounted for 6%
Charts 12 shows the categories which make up Damage and reckless behaviour, over the past ten years. The chart demonstrates the difference in scale of recorded crimes of Vandalism compared to Reckless conduct and Fire-raising.
The following sections discuss in more detail trends for each crime category comprised in the Damage and reckless behaviour crime group. These are:
Damage and reckless behaviour
- Reckless conduct
- Fire raising
Vandalism accounted for 86% of Damage and reckless behaviour. Over the ten year period from 2013-14 to 2022-23 this crime has seen a decrease of 25%. There was a 3% decrease in the most recent year, from 38,404 in 2021-22 to 37,204 to 2022-23.
Reckless conduct accounted for 7% of Damage and reckless behaviour. Over the ten year period from 2013-14 to 2022-23 this category has seen an increase of 33% in the number of crimes recorded. However, there was a 2% decrease in the most recent year, from 3,285 in 2021-22 to 3,206 in 2022-23.
Fire-raising accounted for 6% of Damage and reckless behaviour. Over the ten year period from 2013-14 to 2022-23 this category has seen a 6% increase, remaining relatively stable with between 2,300 and 2,800 crimes each year. There was a 5% increase in the most recent year, from 2,595 crimes in 2021-22 to 2,713 in 2022-23.
Data comparisons: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) publish annual Fire and Rescue Incident Official Statistics, covering the number of fires attended. The latest figures available are for 2021-22.
It is not possible to make direct comparisons between the two sources, as many fires are caused accidentally rather than as a result of a crime, and the police are not called to all deliberate fires. Furthermore, not all police recorded crimes of fire-raising may result in the attendance of the SFRS. However, as these sources both relate to how Scotland's emergency services respond to fires, it would be anticipated that both should show similar trends over time.
A total of 27,771 fires were attended by the SFRS in 2021-22, up 10% on the previous year. Over half (59%) were started deliberately. Between 2012-13 and 2021-22, there has been a 4% increase in the total number of fires attended and an 8% increase in the number of deliberate fires.
This data is one year older than that for recorded crime presented in this bulletin, therefore direct comparisons are not possible. However, it does suggest that the small overall increase in police recorded crimes of fire-raising over the past ten years has also been broadly reflected in statistics from the SFRS.
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