Information

Recorded Crime in Scotland: September 2021

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

This document is part of a collection


Main findings

Crimes recorded by the police

In September 2021, the police recorded 18,809 crimes. This was 4% lower (or 875 crimes) than the 19,684 crimes recorded in the same month of 2020 (when pandemic restrictions were in place) and 8% lower than the 20,405 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 Sexual crimes, all groups were lower than pre-pandemic levels (September 2019) (Table 1, Chart 1).

In September 2021:

  • Non-sexual crimes of violence were 16% higher compared to September 2020 (increasing from 704 to 815 crimes), and 4% lower compared to September 2019 (decreasing from 851 to 815 crimes). Within this, Attempted murder and serious assault increased by 6% compared to September 2020 (from 291 to 308), and decreased by 17% from September 2019 (from 372 to 308 crimes). Other violence increased by 29% compared to September 2020 (from 163 to 210) and increased by 23% from September 2019 (from 171 to 214). The increase in Other violence was mainly due to a rise in Threats and extortion, with the recently published National Statistics bulletin estimating that more than three-quarters (77%) of the crimes of this type recorded in 2020-21 were cyber-crimes. Crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 increased by 39% compared to September 2020 (from 107 to 149), but were 2% lower than in September 2019 (decreasing from 152 to 149).
  • Sexual crimes were 16% higher (or 194 crimes) compared to September 2020, increasing from 1,185 to 1,379 crimes, and were 21% higher (or 236 crimes) from September 2019 (increasing from 1,143 to 1,379 crimes). Other sexual crimes increased by 21% (from 539 to 654) compared to September 2020 and increased by 35% (from 486 to 654) compared to September 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 20% compared to both September 2019 and 2020 (from 412 in September 2019 and 411 in September 2020, to 494 in September 2021). Rape and attempted rape decreased by 1% compared to September 2020 (from 232 to 229 crimes), but increased by 2% compared to September 2019 (from 224 to 229 crimes).
  • Crimes of dishonesty were 2% lower (or 129 crimes) compared to September 2020, decreasing from 8,139 to 8,010 crimes. This was 11% lower than in September 2019 (decreasing from 8,980 to 8,010). Crimes of Fraud have increased throughout the pandemic. Whilst there was a 3% decrease since September 2020 (from 1,367 to 1,328), there has been a 67% increase since September 2019 (from 797 to 1,328). The Changes in levels of recorded fraud section below provides users with further background on what may be contributing to this change. Shoplifting has been the biggest contributor (by volume) to the decrease since 2020 having fallen by 5% compared to September 2020 (from 1,948 to 1,859), and by 21% compared to September 2019.
  • Fire-raising, vandalism etc. was 5% lower (or 191 crimes) compared to September 2020, decreasing from 3,812 to 3,621 crimes, and was 10% lower than in September 2019. Vandalism etc. has fallen 5% since September 2020 (decreasing from 3,581 to 3,404). This is 10% lower than September 2019 levels.
  • Other crimes were 15% lower (or 860 crimes) than in September 2020, decreasing from 5,844 to 4,984 crimes. This is also 8% lower than September 2019 (decreasing from 5,428 to 4,984 crimes). The main contributors to these decreases were Drugs (which fell by 21% compared to September 2020 and 26% compared to September 2019) and Crimes against public justice (which fell by 11% compared to September 2020 but were 25% higher compared to September 2019).
Chart 1. Crimes and offences recorded by the police, by crime group, September 2019, 2020 and 2021
Bar chart showing the number of crimes and offences recorded by group, comparing September 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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

Offences recorded by the police

In September 2021, the police recorded 19,994 offences. This is relatively unchanged (down 56 offences) from the 20,050 offences recorded in the same month in 2020, and 3% lower than in September 2019 (decreasing from 20,686 to 19,994 offences). Miscellaneous offences increased by 5% compared to September 2020, but remained almost unchanged compared to September 2019 with only 3 fewer offences. Motor vehicle offences decreased by 6% compared to September 2020, and by 7% compared to September 2019, as detailed below (Table 2).

In September 2021:

  • Miscellaneous offences increased by 5%, from 10,469 to 11,033 offences since September 2020, and were relatively unchanged compared to August 2019 (decreasing from 11,036 to 11,033). All types of Miscellaneous offence increased since September 2020. The largest increase by volume was Common assault, which rose by 9% from 4,533 to 4,928 offences. Urinating etc. rose by 56% from 95 to 148 offences, but was still 32% lower than September 2019.
  • Motor vehicle offences were 6% lower compared to September 2020 (or 620 offences), decreasing from 9,581 to 8,961 offences, and were 7% lower than September 2019 levels. The main contributors to the decrease since September 2020 by volume were Unlawful use of vehicle (which decreased by 15%, from 3,241 to 2,754 offences) and Speeding (which decreased by 6%, from 1,979 to 1,857 offences), and this is 7% and 20% below September 2019 levels, respectively. Dangerous and careless driving saw the biggest increase since September 2020, rising by 16% from 1,017 to 1,184 offences. This was also 25% higher than September 2019 levels.

Local Authorities

Compared to September 2020, a decrease in recorded crime was seen in 19 (59%) out of 32 local authorities, with 12 showing an increase (Table 3). The largest decrease was seen in Na-h Eileanan Star (down 40%) and the largest increase was in Shetland Islands, which had double the number of 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 Dundee City (down 27%, or 252 crimes), North Lanarkshire (down 15%, or 211 crimes) and Glasgow City (down 6%, or 198 crimes).

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

Overall, in April 2021 to September 2021 the police recorded 114,641 crimes, a reduction of 3% (or 3,563 crimes) compared to the equivalent period of the previous year (118,204 crimes) (Table 4). This was 10% lower (or 12,133 crimes) than the same period in 2019 (126,774 crimes). The biggest drivers of the decrease by volume since 2020 were Drugs (down 18%, or 3,324 crimes), Crimes against public justice (down 9% or 1,164 crimes) and Housebreaking (down 20% or 1,059 crimes). When compared with 2019, the biggest drivers of the reduction by volume were Shoplifiting (down 32%, or 5,199 crimes), Other theft (down 21%, or 4,554 crimes) and Drugs (down 18%, or 3,470 crimes). The largest increase since 2020 by volume was Vandalism etc. (up 4%, or 792 crimes). Compared with 2019, the largest increase by volume was seen in Fraud (up 68%, or 3,526 crimes).

Over the same period, the number of offences recorded by the police was 1% higher (or 976 offences) than in 2020, with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 1% (or 812 offences) and Motor vehicle offences increasing by 3% (or 1,788 offences) (Table 5). Compared to 2019 offences decreased by 6% (or 7,575 offences), with Miscellaneous offences decreasing by 2% (1,531 offences) and Motor vehicle offences decreasing by 10% (or 6,044 offences).

Contact

Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot

Back to top