Recorded Crime in Scotland: March 2021

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

This document is part of a collection

Main findings

Crimes recorded by the police

In March 2021, the police recorded 19,148 crimes. This is 1% higher (or 274 crimes) than the 18,874 crimes recorded in the same month of 2020. There were variations in the year-on-year trends between different crime types. (Table 1, Chart 1).

Between March 2020 and March 2021:

  • Non-sexual crimes of violence were 13% higher (or 93 crimes), increasing from 702 to 795. The most marked increase was in Other violence, which increased by 106 crimes (from 118 to 224). Crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act increased by 40 crimes (from 110 to 150). Attempted murder and Serious assault decreased by 13% (from 302 to 262), and Robbery decreased by 7% (from 163 to 152).
  • Sexual crimes were 16% higher (or 172 crimes), increasing from 1,106 to 1,278 crimes. The main contributor to this increase by volume was Other sexual crimes, which increased by 111 crimes (from 563 to 674). Rape and attempted rape also increased, from 152 to 225 crimes.
  • Crimes of dishonesty were 8% lower (or 672 crimes), decreasing from 8,356 to 7,684 crimes. Most categories experienced a decrease with the notable exception of Fraud (which increased by 75%, from 1,010 to 1,764 crimes). The Changes in levels of recorded fraud section below provides users with further background on what may be contributing to this change. The overall decrease in Crimes of dishonesty was driven by decreases in Housebreaking (which decreased by 41% from 1,128 to 661 crimes) and Shoplifting (which decreased by 21% from 2,147 to 1,706 crimes).
  • Fire-raising, vandalism etc. were 4% lower (or 144 crimes), decreasing from 3,897 to 3,753 crimes. This decrease was driven by crimes of Vandalism etc., which decreased by 5% from 3,711 crimes to 3,533 crimes.
  • Other crimes were 17% higher (or 825 crimes), increasing from 4,813 to 5,638 crimes. The main contributors to this increase by volume were Crimes against public justice (which rose by 38%, from 1,520 to 2,094 crimes), and Drugs (which rose by 14%, from 2,480 to 2,822 crimes).
Chart 1. Crimes and offences recorded by the police, by crime group, March 2021 compared with March 2020

Bar chart showing crimes and offences by crime group, comparing March 2020 and 2021.

Offences recorded by the police

In March 2021, the police recorded 19,772 offences. This is 8% higher (or 1,413 offences) than the 18,359 offences recorded in the same month in 2020. Miscellaneous offences remained relatively unchanged, whilst Motor vehicle offences increased by 16%, as detailed below (Table 2).

Between March 2020 and March 2021:

  • Miscellaneous offences remained relatively unchanged, increasing slightly from 9,755 to 9,797 offences. The most prominent decrease was in Common assault (which decreased by 9% from 4,449 to 4,066 offences). The largest increase was in Other miscellaneous offences, which increased by 39% from 990 to 1,372 offences.
  • Motor vehicle offences were 16% higher (or 1,371 offences), increasing from 8,604 to 9,975 offences. The main contributors to this increase were offences of Speeding (which increased by 30% from 1,758 to 2,294 offences) and Unlawful use of a vehicle (which increased by 25% from 3,084 to 3,849 offences).

Local Authorities

Compared to March 2020, an increase in recorded crime was seen in 22 (69%) out of 32 local authorities, with 10 showing a decrease (Table 3). The largest increase was seen in the Shetland Islands (up 89%) and the largest decrease was in West Lothian (down 14%). 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 increase in crimes recorded by the police were Aberdeen City (up 26%, or 230 crimes), Dundee City (up 17%, or 125 crimes) and Aberdeenshire (up 28%, or 121 crimes).

April 2019 to March 2020 compared with April 2020 to March 2021

Overall, in April 2020 to March 2021 the police recorded 228,502 crimes, a reduction of 7% (or 15,931 crimes) compared to the equivalent period of the previous year (244,433 crimes) (Table 4). The biggest drivers of this reduction by volume were Shoplifting (down 33%, or 10,076 crimes), Other theft (down 19%, or 7,654 crimes), and Vandalism etc. (down 12%, or 5,416 crimes). Fraud saw the biggest increase over this period (up 63%, or 6,861 crimes), followed by Crimes against public justice (up 31%, or 5,945 crimes).

Over the same period, the number of offences recorded by the police was also 7% lower (or 17,661 offences), with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 5% (or 6,150 offences) and Motor vehicle offences decreasing by 10% (or 11,511 offences) (Table 5).



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