Recorded Crime in Scotland: October 2020

Official Statistics on crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland for October 2020.

This document is part of a collection

Main findings

Crimes recorded by the police

In October 2020, the police recorded 19,798 crimes. This is 8% lower (or 1,645 crimes) than the 21,443 crimes recorded in the same month of 2019. There were variations in the year-on-year trends between different crime types. (Table 1, Chart 1).

Between October 2019 and October 2020:

  • Non-sexual crimes of violence were 8% lower (or 68 crimes), decreasing from 848 to 780 crimes. Most categories in this group experienced a decrease, with the exception of Homicide etc. which increased by 1 crime, and Other violence (which increased by 10% or 16 crimes). The most marked decrease was in the Attempted murder and serious assault category, which decreased by 60 crimes (17%), from 350 to 290. Crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act decreased by 12% (from 165 to 146 crimes).
  • Sexual crimes were 4% lower (a decrease of 41 crimes), decreasing from 1,134 to 1,093 crimes. The main contributor to this decrease by volume was Sexual assault, which decreased by 23% (or 99 crimes), from 435 to 336. Other sexual crimes increased by 11%, or 53 crimes.
  • Crimes of dishonesty were 12% lower (or 1,165 crimes), reducing from 9,571 to 8,406 crimes. All categories experienced a decrease with the exception of Fraud (which increased by 62%, from 927 to 1,506 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 Shoplifting (which decreased by 28% from 2,644 to 1,912 crimes), Other theft (which decreased by 17% from 3,681 to 3,066 crimes) and Housebreaking (which decreased by 18% from 1,089 to 891 crimes).
  • Fire-raising, vandalism etc. decreased by 12%, from 4,259 to 3,735 crimes. Within this, crimes of Fireraising increased by 11% from 238 to 265 crimes, while Vandalism etc. decreased by 14% from 4,021 crimes to 3,470 crimes.
  • Other crimes were 3% higher (or 153 crimes), increasing from 5,631 to 5,784 crimes. The main contributor to this increase by volume was Crimes against public justice, which rose by 25% (or 410 crimes). Drugs crimes fell by 11%, or 329 crimes.
Chart 1. Crimes and offences recorded by the police, by crime group, October 2020 compared with October 2019

Bar chart showing crimes and offences by crime group, comparing October 2019 and 2020.

Offences recorded by the police

In October 2020, the police recorded 19,236 offences. This is 8% lower (or 1,606 offences) than the 20,842 offences recorded in the same month in 2019. There was a 5% decrease in Miscellaneous offences, and an 11% decrease in Motor vehicle offences, as detailed below (Table 2).

Between October 2019 and October 2020:

  • Miscellaneous offences decreased by 5% (or 517 offences), from 10,596 to 10,079. Most categories experienced a decrease with the exception of Other miscellaneous offences, which experienced an increase of 16% from 1,148 to 1,329. The most prominent decreases were in Common assault (which decreased by 7% from 4,770 to 4,416 offences), Breach of the peace etc. which decreased by 5% (from 4,149 to 3,937) and Urinating etc., which decreased by 71% (from 163 to 47).
  • Motor vehicle offences were 11% lower (or 1,089 offences), reducing from 10,246 to 9,157. The main contributors to this reduction were Speeding, which fell by 23% (or 547 offences) and Unlawful use of a vehicle (which fell by 8% or 260 offences). Driving under the influence increased by 31% (160 offences), from 509 to 669.

Local Authorities

Compared to October 2019, a reduction in recorded crime was seen in 23 (72%) out of 32 local authorities, with 8 showing an increase and one staying the same (Table 3). The largest decrease was seen in Shetland Islands (down 26%) and the largest increase was in Na h-Eileanan Siar (up 26%). 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 reduction in crimes recorded by the police were Glasgow City (down 18% or 719 crimes), Edinburgh City (down 14% or 347 crimes) and North Lanarkshire (down 8% or 129 crimes).

April to October 2020 compared with April to October 2019

Overall, in April to October 2020 the police recorded 138,002 crimes, a reduction of 7% (or 10,215 crimes) compared to the same period in 2019 (148,217 crimes) (Table 4). The biggest drivers of this reduction by volume were Shoplifting (down 34% or 6,486 crimes), Other theft (down 19% or 4,892), and Vandalism etc. (down 13% or 3,407 crimes). Crimes against public justice saw the biggest increase over this period, growing by 34% (or 3,850 crimes) from 11,431 to 15,281 crimes. Fraud was also higher, increasing by 61% (or 3,744 crimes) from 6,089 to 9,833.

Over the same period, the number of offences recorded by the police was 7% lower (or 10,157 offences), with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 2% (or 1,236 offences) and Motor vehicle offences falling by 12% (or 8,921 offences) (Table 5).



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