Publication - Statistics

Recorded Crime in Scotland: October 2021

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

Recorded Crime in Scotland: October 2021
Main findings

Main findings

Crimes recorded by the police

In October 2021, the police recorded 19,708 crimes. This was <1% lower (or 90 crimes) than the 19,798 crimes recorded in the same month of 2020 (when pandemic restrictions were in place) and 8% lower than the 21,443 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 (October 2019) (Table 1, Chart 1).

In October 2021:

  • Non-sexual crimes of violence were 21% higher compared to October 2020 (increasing from 780 to 941 crimes), and 11% higher compared to October 2019 (increasing from 848 to 941 crimes). Within this, Attempted murder and serious assault decreased by 1% compared to October 2020 (from 290 to 287), and decreased by 18% from October 2019 (from 350 to 287 crimes). Other violence increased by 89% compared to October 2020 (from 178 to 337) and increased by 108% from October 2019 (from 162 to 337). The increase in Other violence between October 2020 and October 2021 was due to rises in Drugging (from 2 to 119 crimes) and Threats and extortion (from 82 to 147 crimes). The rise in Drugging is likely due to cases of "spiking", whereas the recently published National Statistics bulletin estimated that more than three-quarters (77%) of Threats and extortion recorded in 2020-21 were cyber-crimes. Crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 decreased by 1% compared to October 2020 (from 146 to 144), and were 13% lower than in October 2019 (decreasing from 165 to 144).
  • Sexual crimes were 12% higher (or 128 crimes) compared to October 2020, increasing from 1,093 to 1,221 crimes, and were 8% higher (or 87 crimes) from October 2019 (increasing from 1,134 to 1,221 crimes). Other sexual crimes increased by 6% (from 539 to 570) compared to October 2020 and increased by 17% (from 486 to 570) compared to October 2019. 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, Disclosure of intimate images and Voyeurism. Research published in the recent 2020-21 Recorded Crime National Statistics showed that the majority of these crimes are likely to be cyber-crimes. Sexual assault increased by 29% compared to October 2020 (from 336 to 434 crimes), but remained almost unchanged compared to October 2019 (decreasing from 435 to 434 crimes). Rape and attempted rape decreased by 4% compared to October 2020 (from 215 to 207 crimes), and increased by 2% compared to October 2019 (from 202 to 207 crimes).
  • Crimes of dishonesty were 3% higher (or 283 crimes) compared to October 2020, increasing from 8,406 to 8,689 crimes. This was 9% lower than in October 2019 (decreasing from 9,571 to 8,689). Crimes of Fraud have increased throughout the pandemic. There was a 5% increase since October 2020 (from 1,506 to 1,582), and a 71% increase since October 2019 (from 927 to 1,582). The Changes in levels of recorded fraud section below provides users with further background on what may be contributing to this change. Other theft has been the biggest contributor (by volume) to the increase since 2020 having risen by 7% compared to October 2020 (from 3,066 to 3,287 crimes), but was 11% lower when compared to October 2019.
  • Fire-raising, vandalism etc. was 2% higher (or 63 crimes) compared to October 2020, increasing from 3,735 to 3,798 crimes, but was 11% lower than October 2019. Vandalism etc. has risen 4% since October 2020 (increasing from 3,470 to 3,606). This is 10% lower than October 2019 levels.
  • Other crimes were 13% lower (or 725 crimes) than in October 2020, decreasing from 5,784 to 5,059 crimes. This is also 10% lower than October 2019 (decreasing from 5,631 to 5,059 crimes). The main contributors to these decreases were Drugs (which fell by 18% compared to October 2020 and 26% compared to October 2019) and Crimes against public justice (which fell by 7% compared to October 2020 but were 16% higher compared to October 2019).

Chart: each category shows columns from left to right for October 2019, 2020 and 2021

Chart 1: Crimes and offences recorded by the police, by crime group, October 2019, 2020 and 2021
Bar chart showing total crimes and offences recorded across October 2019, 2020 and 2021

Offences recorded by the police

In October 2021, the police recorded 18,780 offences. This a fall of 2% (down 456 offences) from the 19,236 offences recorded in the same month in 2020, and 10% lower than in October 2019 (decreasing from 20,842 to 18,780 offences). Miscellaneous offences increased by 5% compared to October 2020, but remained almost unchanged compared to October 2019 with only 41 fewer offences. Motor vehicle offences decreased by 10% compared to October 2020, and by 20% compared to October 2019, as detailed below (Table 2).

In October 2021:

  • Miscellaneous offences increased by 5%, from 10,079 to 10,555 offences since October 2020, and were relatively unchanged compared to October 2019 (decreasing from 10,596 to 10,555). The largest increase by volume since October 2020 was Common assault, which rose by 14% from 4,416 to 5,021 offences. Urinating etc. rose by 174% from 47 to 129 offences, but was still 21% lower than October 2019.
  • Motor vehicle offences were 10% lower compared to October 2020 (or 932 offences), decreasing from 9,157 to 8,225 offences, and were 20% lower than October 2019 levels. The main contributors to the decrease since October 2020 by volume were Speeding (which decreased by 33%, from 1,824 to 1,228 offences) and Unlawful use of vehicle (which decreased by 14%, from 3,121 to 2,695 offences), and this is 48% and 20% below October 2019 levels, respectively. Other motor vehicle offences saw the biggest increase since October 2020, rising by 6% from 1,810 to 1,923 offences. This was 6% lower than October 2019 levels.

Local Authorities

Compared to October 2020, a decrease in recorded crime was seen in 20 (63%) out of 32 local authorities, with 12 showing an increase (Table 3). The largest decrease was seen in Na-h Eileanan Star (down 36%) and the largest increase was in Scottish Borders, which had 44% more recorded crimes. 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 North Lanarkshire (down 15%, or 212 crimes), Fife (down 9%, or 125 crimes) and East Ayrshire (down 18%, or 88 crimes).

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

Overall, in April 2021 to October 2021 the police recorded 134,349 crimes, a reduction of 3% (or 3,653 crimes) compared to the equivalent period of the previous year (138,002 crimes) (Table 4). This was 9% lower (or 13,868 crimes) than the same period in 2019 (148,217 crimes). The biggest drivers of the decrease by volume since 2020 were Drugs (down 18%, or 3,813 crimes), Crimes against public justice (down 9% or 1,311 crimes) and Housebreaking (down 19% or 1,194 crimes). When compared with 2019, the biggest drivers of the reduction by volume were Shoplifting (down 31%, or 5,849 crimes), Other theft (down 19%, or 4,948 crimes) and Drugs (down 19%, or 4,288 crimes). The largest increase since 2020 by volume was Vandalism etc. (up 4%, or 928 crimes). Compared with 2019, the largest increase by volume was seen in Fraud (up 69%, or 4,181 crimes).

Over the same period, the number of offences recorded by the police was <1% higher (or 520 offences) than in 2020, with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by <1% (or 336 offences) and Motor vehicle offences increasing by 1% (or 856 offences) (Table 5). Compared to 2019 offences decreased by 6% (or 9,637 offences), with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 2% (1,572 offences) and Motor vehicle offences decreasing by 11% (or 8,065 offences).


Contact

Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot