Publication - Statistics

Recorded Crime in Scotland: August 2021

Official Statistics on crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland for August 2021.

Recorded Crime in Scotland: August 2021
Main findings

Main findings

Crimes recorded by the police

In August 2021, the police recorded 19,071 crimes. This was 4% lower (or 850 crimes) than the 19,921 crimes recorded in the same month of 2020 (when pandemic restrictions were in place) and 8% lower than the 20,730 crimes recorded in the same month of 2019 (for which there was no pandemic or restrictions on movement). There were variations in the year-on-year trends between different crime types. However, with the exception of Non-sexual crimes of violence and Sexual crimes, all groups were lower than pre-pandemic levels (August 2019) (Table 1, Chart 1).

In August 2021:

  • Non-sexual crimes of violence were 4% lower compared to August 2020 (decreasing from 828 to 791 crimes), and 2% higher compared to August 2019 (increasing from 775 to 791 crimes). Within this, Attempted murder and serious assault decreased by 19% compared to August 2020 (from 396 to 319), and decreased by 6% from August 2019 (from 340 to 319 crimes). Other violence increased by 32% compared to August 2020 (from 162 to 214) and increased by 71% from August 2019 (from 125 to 214). The increase in Other violence was mainly due to a rise in Threats and extortion, with the possibility that many of these crimes were cyber enabled. This possibility will be explored in more depth in the National Statistics which will be published later this month. Crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 increased by 10% compared to August 2020 (from 122 to 134), but were 7% lower than in August 2019 (decreasing from 144 to 134).
  • Sexual crimes were 4% higher (or 39 crimes) compared to August 2020, increasing from 1,091 to 1,130 crimes. This was relatively unchanged from August 2019 (increasing from 1,128 to 1,130 crimes). Sexual assault saw the largest increase since August 2020, increasing by 15% (from 356 to 411). However, this was 13% lower than in August 2019. Other sexual crimes decreased by 8% compared to August 2020 (from 567 to 522). However this was an 11% increase compared to August 2019 (from 470 to 522). The rise in Other sexual crimes since 2019 was driven by crimes including Communicating indecently, Coercing a person into being present/looking at sexual activity and Voyeurism, with many of these crimes likely to be cyber enabled. Rape and attempted rape increased by 15% compared to August 2020, from 164 to 189 crimes, but this was also a 13% decrease compared to August 2019 (from 216 to 189 crimes).
  • Crimes of dishonesty were 1% higher (or 59 crimes) compared to August 2020, increasing from 8,118 to 8,177 crimes. This was 11% lower than in August 2019 (decreasing from 9,159 to 8,177). Crimes of Fraud have increased throughout the pandemic. There has been a 4% increase since August 2020 (from 1,354 to 1,404), and a 62% increase since August 2019 (from 866 to 1,404). The Changes in levels of recorded fraud section below provides users with further background on what may be contributing to this change. Housebreaking saw the largest decrease by volume since August 2020, falling 15% (from 881 to 748 crimes), and is 27% lower than August 2019 (decreasing from 1,030 to 748 crimes).
  • Fire-raising, vandalism etc. was 4% lower (162 fewer crimes) compared to August 2020, decreasing from 3,948 to 3,786 crimes. This was also 4% lower than in August 2019. Vandalism etc. has fallen 5% since August 2020 (decreasing by 190 crimes from 3,752 to 3,562). This is 6% lower than August 2019 levels.
  • Other crimes were 13% lower (or 749 crimes) than in August 2020, decreasing from 5,936 to 5,187 crimes. This is also 9% lower than August 2019 (decreasing from 5,705 to 5,187 crimes). The main contributors to these decreases were Drugs (which fell by 17% compared to August 2020 and 28% compared to August 2019) and Crimes against public justice (which fell by 13% compared to August 2020 but were 11% higher compared to August 2019).
Chart 1. Crimes and offences recorded by the police, by crime group, August 2019, 2020 and 2021
Chart: each category shows columns from left to right for August 2019, 2020 and 2021
Chart summarises counts of crimes and offences by group for August 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Offences recorded by the police

In August 2021, the police recorded 20,314 offences. This is 7% lower (down 1,533 offences) than the 21,847 offences recorded in the same month in 2020, and 6% lower than in August 2019 (decreasing from 21,725 to 20,314 offences). Miscellaneous offences decreased by 10% compared to August 2020, and by 2% compared to August 2019. Motor vehicle offences decreased by 3% compared to August 2020, and were 11% lower than in August 2019, as detailed below (Table 2).

In August 2021:

  • Miscellaneous offences decreased by 10%, from 12,375 to 11,160 offences since August 2020, and decreased by 2% compared to August 2019 (decreasing from 11,407 to 11,160). The largest decrease since August 2020 was in Breach of the peace etc. (which decreased by 14% from 4,991 to 4,298 offences), and were 6% lower than in August 2019. Drunkeness and other disorderly conduct decreased by 15% compared to August 2020 (from 601 to 511 offences), and levels decreased by 3% from August 2019 (from 525 to 511 offences).
  • Motor vehicle offences were 3% lower compared to August 2020 (or 318 offences), decreasing from 9,472 to 9,154 offences, and were 11% lower than August 2019 levels. The main contributors to the decrease since August 2020 by volume were Unlawful use of vehicle (which decreased by 4%, from 2,904 to 2,781) and Vehicle defect offences (which decreased by 19%, from 646 to 523 offences), and this is 10% and 6% below August 2019 levels, respectively. Other motor vehicle offences saw the biggest increase compared to August 2020 (rising by 8%, from 1,867 to 2,019 offences), however this was 1% lower than August 2019 levels.

Local Authorities

Compared to August 2020, a decrease in recorded crime was seen in 19 (59%) out of 32 local authorities, with 10 showing an increase (Table 3). The largest decrease was seen in South Lanarkshire (down 20%) and the largest increase was in Shetland Islands (up 50%). It should be noted that the relatively small number of crimes recorded in some of Scotland's local authorities can fluctuate over time - leading to large percentage changes. This is particularly relevant in this release, where monthly data is being presented rather than the annual information provided in the National Statistics.

The biggest contributors by volume to the overall decrease in crimes recorded by the police were Glasgow City (down 11%, or 386 crimes), South Lanarkshire (down 20%, or 256 crimes) and North Lanarkshire (down 8%, or 123 crimes).

April 2019 to August 2019 and April 2020 to August 2020 compared with April 2021 to August 2021

Overall, in April 2021 to August 2021 the police recorded 95,832 crimes, a reduction of 3% (or 2,688 crimes) compared to the equivalent period of the previous year (98,520 crimes) (Table 4). This was 10% lower (or 10,537 crimes) than the same period in 2019 (106,369 crimes). The biggest drivers of the decrease by volume since 2020 were Drugs (down 17%, or 2,730 crimes) and Housebreaking (down 22%, or 987 crimes). When compared with 2019, the biggest drivers of the reduction in volume were Shoplifiting (down 34%, or 4,698 crimes), Other theft (down 22%, or 4,020 crimes) and Drugs (down 17%, or 2,680 crimes). The largest increase since 2020 by volume was Vandalism etc. (up 6%, or 969 crimes). Compared with 2019, the largest increase by volume was seen in Fraud (up 69%, or 2,995 crimes).

Over the same period, the number of offences recorded by the police was 1% higher (or 1,032 offences) than in 2020, with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 2% and Motor vehicle offences increasing by 5% (or 2,408 offences) (Table 5). Compared to 2019 offences decreased by 6% (or 6,883 offences), with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 3% (1,528 offences) and Motor vehicle offences decreasing by 10% (or 5,355 offences).


Contact

Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot