Crimes recorded by the police
In July 2021, the police recorded 19,092 crimes. This was 6% lower (or 1,309 crimes) than the 20,401 crimes recorded in the same month of 2020 (when pandemic restrictions were in place) and 13% lower than the 21,839 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 (July 2019) (Table 1, Chart 1).
In July 2021:
- Non-sexual crimes of violence were 6% higher compared to July 2020 (increasing from 827 to 878 crimes), and 11% higher compared to June 2019 (increasing from 794 to 878 crimes). Within this, Attempted murder and serious assault increased by 3% compared to July 2020 (from 351 to 361), but decreased 3% from July 2019 (decreasing from 373 to 361 crimes). Other violence increased by 30% compared to July 2020 (from 168 to 218) and increased 68% from July 2019 (from 130 to 218). 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 in September. Crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 decreased by 11% compared to July 2020 (from 148 to 131), and were 6% lower than in July 2019 (decreasing from 140 to 131).
- Sexual crimes were 4% lower (or 45 crimes) compared to July 2020, decreasing from 1,203 to 1,158 crimes. This was 4% higher than in July 2019 (increasing from 1,117 to 1,158 crimes). Sexual assault saw the largest increase since July 2020, increasing by 5% (from 400 to 419). However, this was 3% lower than in July 2019. Other sexual crimes decreased by 2% compared to July 2020 (from 546 to 534). However this was a 7% increase compared to July 2019 (from 501 to 534). The rise in Other sexual crimes since 2019 was driven by crimes including Voyeurism, Threatening to disclose an intimate image and sexual crimes under the Communications Act 2003, with many of these crimes likely to be cyber enabled. Rape and attempted rape decreased by 22% compared to July 2020, from 255 to 199 crimes, but this was also an 11% increase compared to July 2019 (from 179 to 199 crimes).
- Crimes of dishonesty were 3% lower (or 223 crimes) compared to July 2020, decreasing from 8,166 to 7,943 crimes. This was 21% lower than in July 2019 (decreasing from 10,008 to 7,943). Crimes of Fraud have increased throughout the pandemic. However, there has been a 10% decrease since July 2020 (from 1,534 to 1,381), but still a 39% increase since July 2019 (from 991 to 1,381). The Changes in levels of recorded fraud section below provides users with further background on what may be contributing to this change. After Fraud, Housebreaking saw the second largest decrease by volume since July 2020, falling 11% (from 807 to 718 crimes), and is 35% lower than July 2019 (decreasing from 1,104 to 718 crimes).
- Fire-raising, vandalism etc. remained relatively unchanged (2 fewer crimes) compared to July 2020, decreasing from 3,760 to 3,758 crimes. However this was still 8% lower than in July 2019. Vandalism etc. has remained relatively unchanged since July 2020 (decreasing by 10 crimes from 3,526 to 3,516). However this is 9% lower than July 2019 levels.
- Other crimes were 17% lower (or 1,090 crimes) than in July 2020, decreasing from 6,445 to 5,355 crimes. This is also 8% lower than July 2019 (decreasing from 5,836 to 5,355 crimes). The main contributors to these decreases were Drugs (which fell by 25% compared to July 2020 and 28% compared to July 2019) and Crimes against public justice (which fell by 8% compared to July 2020 but were 23% higher compared to July 2019).
Offences recorded by the police
In July 2021, the police recorded 20,968 offences. This is 3% lower (down 639 offences) than the 21,607 offences recorded in the same month in 2020, and 7% lower than in July 2019 (decreasing from 22,644 to 20,968 offences). Miscellaneous offences decreased by 2% compared to July 2020, and held steady compared to July 2019. Motor vehicle offences decreased by 4% compared to July 2020, and were 15% lower than in July 2019, as detailed below (Table 2).
In July 2021:
- Miscellaneous offences decreased by 2%, from 11,745 to 11,484 offences, and held steady compared to July 2019 (decreasing from 11,502 to 11,484). The largest decrease since July 2020 was in Other miscellaneous offences (which decreased by 12% from 1,416 to 1,240 offences), but were 10% higher than in July 2019. Drunkeness and other disorderly conduct increased by 10% compared to July 2020 (from 546 to 601 offences), but levels decreased by 12% from July 2019 (from 684 to 601 offences).
- Motor vehicle offences were 4% lower compared to July 2020 (or 378 offences), decreasing from 9,862 to 9,484 offences, and were 15% lower than July 2019 levels. The main contributor to the decrease since July 2020 was Vehicle defect offences (which decreased by 30%, from 663 to 464 offences), and this is 22% below July 2019 levels. Other motor vehicle offences saw the biggest increase compared to July 2020 (rising by 7%, from 1,663 to 1,780 offences), however this was 9% lower than July 2019 levels.
Compared to July 2020, a decrease in recorded crime was seen in 23 (72%) out of 32 local authorities, with 8 showing an increase and one where was no change (Table 3). The largest decrease was seen in Orkney Islands (down 48%) and the largest increase was in Falkirk (up 39%). 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 Edinburgh City (down 15%, or 356 crimes), North Lanarkshire (down 17% or 256 crimes) and Aberdeen City (down 17%, or 197 crimes).
April 2019 to July 2019 and April 2020 to July 2020 compared with April 2021 to July 2021
Overall, in April 2021 to July 2021 the police recorded 76,761 crimes, a reduction of 2% (or 1,838 crimes) compared to the equivalent period of the previous year (78,599 crimes) (Table 4). This was 10% lower (or 8,878 crimes) than the same period in 2019 (85,639 crimes). The biggest drivers of the decrease by volume since 2020 were Drugs (down 17%, or 2,269 crimes) and Housebreaking (down 24%, or 854 crimes). When compared with 2019, the biggest drivers of the reduction in volume were Shoplifiting (down 36%, or 4,095 crimes), Other theft (down 24%, or 3,539 crimes) and Drugs (down 14%, or 1,798 crimes). The largest increase since 2020 by volume was Vandalism etc. (up 9%, or 1,159 crimes). Compared with 2019, the largest increase by volume was seen in Fraud (up 70%, or 2,457 crimes).
Over the same period, the number of offences recorded by the police was 3% higher (or 2,565 offences) than in 2020, with Miscellaneous offences remaining relatively unchanged (0% change) and Motor vehicle offences increasing by 8% (or 2,726 offences) (Table 5). Compared to 2019 offences decreased 6% (or 5,472 offences), with Miscellaneous offences falling 3% (or 1,281 offences) and Motor vehicle offences decreasing by 10% (or 4,191 offences).