Publication - Statistics

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Main Findings

Published: 15 Mar 2016
ISBN:
9781786521026

Main findings from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15.

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Main Findings
4. The Risk and Characteristics of Crime

4. The Risk and Characteristics of Crime

What is the risk of being a victim of crime?

4.1. Introduction

As reported in Chapter 2, the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) 2014/15 estimated that approximately 688,000 crimes occurred in Scotland. As well as estimating the number of crimes, the SCJS measures the percentage of adults (aged 16 or over) who were victims of crime in the 12 months before interview. This identifies the overall risk of being a victim of crime and is known as the 'crime victimisation rate' or 'prevalence'.

This chapter also examines the varying risk of being a victim of crime, as well as the nature and characteristics of crime. This includes when and where crime happened and the characteristics of offenders. The chapter also presents the latest figures on the use of weapons and the role of alcohol and drugs in violent crime.

4.2. The Risk of Crime

The majority of Scottish adults were not the victim of any crime in 2014/15. The SCJS 2014/15 estimates that 14.5% of adults were the victims of at least one crime.

Scotland Performs measures and reports on the progress of government in Scotland in creating a more successful country. The SCJS is used to monitor the following national indicator: 'reduce crime victimisation rates'[15], defined as the percentage of adults aged 16 or over in private households who have been the victim of one or more crimes as measured by the SCJS.

The SCJS 2008/09 is the baseline for the Scotland Performs crime victimisation indicator. The risk of being a victim of crime has seen a statistically significant decrease from 20.4% in 2008/09 to 14.5% in 2014/15. The risk of crime has also fallen between the latest two surveys, from 16.9% in 2012/13 to 14.5% in 2014/15.

Equivalent results from the Crime Survey for England & Wales show that the risk of crime victimisation in England and Wales in 2014/15 was 15.9%[16]. This represents a statistically significant difference compared to the equivalent crime victimisation rate estimated in the SCJS 2014/15 (14.5%).

4.2.1. The Risk of Being a Victim of Different Crimes

Figure 4.1 Risk of being a victim of different crime types (SCJS, 2014/15)

Figure 4.1 Risk of being a victim of different crime types (SCJS, 2014/15)

Base: Adults (or Households) (11,470)
Variable name: Prevalence variables

Figure 4.1 shows the risk of being a victim of various crime types. The SCJS estimates that there was a 13.0% risk of being a victim of property crime in 2014/15. Within the property crime group, adults had a 5.1% risk of experiencing vandalism and 5.0% risk of experiencing other household thefts (including bicycle theft). There was a 2.6% risk of being a victim of violent crime. Within this group, there was a 2.1% risk of minor assault, a 0.3% risk of attempted assault and a 0.1% risk for both serious assault and robbery.

4.2.2. The Varying Risk of Crime by Respondent Characteristics

This section explores how the risk of being a victim of crime varies among adults in Scotland. It examines the varying risk of being a victim of crime overall, as well as separately for property crime and violent crime. Successive sweeps of the SCJS have shown that the risk of being a victim of crime varies among adults with differing personal, household and area characteristics (Box 4.1).

Box 4.1 The varying risk of victimisation

Particular features that increase risk have been identified through modelling BCS and other crime survey data. Features identified include personal characteristics, such as age and gender, and household attributes, such as household size, composition and type of accommodation. Lifestyle factors that are associated with differential risk include relative affluence and routine activities such as the proportion of time spent in or out of the home (Kershaw and Tseloni, 2005).

Area characteristics also influence the risk of crime. More property and violent crime have consistently been found in areas with higher levels of deprivation (Johnson et al., 2005). Urban areas, where areas of higher deprivation tend to be, have higher crime rates. As a result, there is a higher than average risk of victimisation for adults living in urban areas compared with those living in rural locations.

Analysis of BCS and other crime survey data has shown that, in low crime areas, the risk is more evenly distributed. In areas of high crime, it is concentrated in a relatively small number of households. This means that, in high crime areas, the risk to an individual household is relatively low, but those that are victims more often suffer repeated victimisation (Kershaw and Tseloni, 2005).

Table 4.1 shows that the risk of being a victim of a crime is higher for males (15.6%) than for females (13.6%), and that males also had a higher risk of being as victim of violent crime than females (3.5% compared to 1.8% respectively)[17], both statistically significant differences. However there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of males and females being a victim of property crime.

Table 4.1: The varying risk of crime by age and gender (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of adults Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime Number of Respondents
All 13.0 2.6 14.5 11,470
Gender
Male 13.4 3.5 15.6 5,180
Female 12.6 1.8 13.6 6,290
Age
16-24 16.8 6.0 20.4 930
25-44 16.5 3.5 18.4 3,420
45-59 13.7 2.2 15.3 2,970
60 or over 6.4 0.4 6.8 4,160
Age within gender
Male 16-24 17.9 8.7 23.6 430
Male 25-44 15.4 5.0 18.3 1,530
Male 45-59 13.9 1.9 15.3 1,360
Male 60 or over 7.9 0.4 8.3 1,860
Female 16-24 15.7 3.2 17.1 500
Female 25-44 17.6 2.0 18.6 1,880
Female 45-59 13.6 2.4 15.2 1,610
Female 60 or over 5.2 0.3 5.5 2,300

Variable name: PREVSURVEYCRIME, PREVPROPERTY AND PREVVIOLENT

The risk of being a victim of any crime decreased with age. One fifth (20.4%) of 16 to 24 year olds were at risk of being a victim of crime, compared with a 6.8% risk for those 60 or over. Similarly, the risk of property crime was highest for those aged 16-24 (16.8%) and 25-44 (16.5%) and lowest those aged over 60 (6.4%). The risk of violent crime also decreased with age, from 6.0% for those aged 16-24 to 0.4% for those over 60.

Taking age and gender together, young men (aged 16-24) had the highest risk of being a victim of any crime (23.6%). Young men also had the highest risk of violent crime (8.7%), and were over twice as likely to be a victim of violent crime than women of the same age group (3.2%).

4.2.3. The Varying Risk of Crime by Area Characteristics

Figure 4.2: The risk of being a victim of different crimes (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 4.2: The risk of being a victim of different crimes (SCJS 2014/15)

Number of respondents: 11,470; 15% most deprived (1,690); Rest of Scotland (9,780)
Variable name: SIMD_TOP, PREVSURVEYCRIME, PREVPROPERTY and PREVVIOLENT

The results of the SCJS 2014/15 also show that the risk of being a victim of crime varies by area characteristics. Figure 4.2 demonstrates that the risk of being a victim of crime was higher for adults living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland (21.2%), compared to those living in the rest of Scotland (13.4%). Similarly, the SCJS 2014/15 data shows that the risk of property crime and violent crime was higher for those living in Scotland's 15% most deprived areas[18].

For those living in the most deprived areas, the risk of being a victim of crime saw a statistically significant decrease from 26.0% in 2008/09 to 21.2% in 2014/15, but no change between 2012/13 (21.3%) and 2014/15 (21.2%). For the rest of Scotland, the risk of crime in 2014/15 (13.4%) is lower than in 2008/09 (19.4%) and 2012/13 (16.1%).

4.3. Multiple and Repeat Victimisation

This section presents figures on the risk of being a victim of a particular crime more than once during 2014/15. It should be noted that some victims will experience multiple and repeat incidents, but over a longer period of time. Box 4.3 outlines how the survey captures and presents this information, and outlines the approach taken to cap the number of incidents that occur in a series.

Box 4.3 Terminology used in the analysis of repeat and multiple victims[19]

Multiple Victimisation - the estimated proportion of adults who have been the victim of more than one violent crime, or more than one property crime or have been the victim of both types of crime.

The SCJS, technically consists of two highly related, but separate surveys; at various times in the survey the respondent provides information on behalf of the household as a whole and on behalf of themselves as an individual. To enable an estimation of overall multiple victimisation, the statistics presented in this section use the individual weight. This means that the statistics relate to crimes against adults where they were a victim of a personal crime or who lived in a household that was a victim of a household crime.

Repeat Victimisation - a subset of multiple victimisation, the proportion of adults who have been the victim of the same type of crime more than once (e.g. multiple property crimes).

High Frequency Repeat Victims - a subset of repeat victims who have experienced a 'series'[20] of five or more crimes, of the same type. The total number of incidents that occurred in a series in the reference period is capped at five incidents. Therefore, as up to five victim forms are completed, a respondent can have a maximum of 25 incidents included in the survey statistics. The capping of series incidents is consistent with previous SCJS and with current practice in other crime surveys, such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales, although this methodology will be kept under review (further information is provided in the 2014/15 SCJS Technical Report, Section 9.2).

4.3.1. Multiple Victimisation

As shown in Figure 4.3, it is estimated that 85.5% of adults did not experience crime and that around one in ten adults experienced one crime (10.2%), accounting for 42% of all SCJS crime.

It is therefore estimated that, in 2014/15, multiple victimisation affected 4.4% of the adult population, who experienced 58% of all SCJS crime. These victims experienced, on average, 2.1 crimes each. Furthermore, it is estimated that 0.6% of the adult population experienced five or more crimes (regardless of crime type and whether the crimes were in a series) accounting for around one sixth of all SCJS crime (17%). It should be noted that multiple victimisation includes the full range of property and violent crimes estimated by the SCJS - the following section provides information on the property and violent crimes involved in the subset of repeat victimisation.

Figure 4.3 Prevalence rates and proportion of crime experienced by victims, by number of crimes experienced1,2 (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 4.3 Prevalence rates and proportion of crime experienced by victims, by number of crimes experienced (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Victims of crime (1,930)
Variable name: PREVSURVEYCRIME

Notes:

1. Figures are based on analysis of a small number of victims and should be interpreted with caution.

2. To enable an estimation of overall multiple victimisation, the statistics presented in this section all use the individual weight. This means that the statistics relate to crimes against adults where they were a victim of a personal crime or who lived in a household that was a victim of a household crime.

4.3.2. Repeat Victimisation

The analysis of repeat victimisation enables an examination of the types of crimes experienced more than once in a year. In 2014/15, 3.5% of adults were repeat victims of property crime and 0.8% of adults were repeat victims of violent crime.

Table 4.2 shows that the 3.5% of adults who were repeat victims of property crime experienced 50% of all property crime, or on average 1.6 property crimes each. Almost a tenth of all property crime (9%) was experienced by the 0.3% of the adult population (2% of victims of property crime) who experienced five or more incidents of property crime.

The 0.8% of adults who were repeat victims of violent crime experienced 57% of all violent crime, or on average three violent crimes each. One fifth of all violent crime (20%) was experienced by the 0.2% of the adult population (or 6% of victims of violent crime) who experienced five or more incidents of violent crime. Of those who were repeat victims of violent crime, 74% were repeat victims of minor assault.

Table 4.2 Proportion of crime experienced by repeat victims, by number of crimes experienced SCJS 2014/15

Violent Crime Property Crime
No. of Crimes % of Violent Crime % of Population No. of Crimes % of Property Crime % of Population
0 0 97 0 0 87
1 43 1.8 1 50 9.4
2 19 0.4 2 22 2.2
3 12 0.2 3 12 0.8
4 5.5 0.1 4 6.0 0.2
5+ 20 0.2 5+ 9.4 0.3
Total 100 100 Total 100 100

Base: Victims of crime (1,930)
Variable name: PREVSURVEYCRIME

As shown in Figure 4.4, just over one-in-four victims of property crime were repeat victims (27%), although this varied by crime group, from 7% of victims of personal theft (excl. robbery) to 31% of victims of vandalism. Similarly, Figure 4.4 shows that three-in-ten victims of violent crimes were repeat victims (30%), ranging from 16% for victims of robbery to 50% for victims of attempted assault.

Figure 4.4 Proportion of victims who were repeat victims, by crime group (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 4.4 Proportion of victims who were repeat victims, by crime group (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Households / adults who were victims in each crime group[21]
Variable name: Repeat victim variables in the Respondent File SPSS[22]

4.4. The Characteristics of Crime

The SCJS collects information on where and when crime happened, the characteristics of offenders, and details about the incident (such as the use of weapons, or the influence of drugs and alcohol).

4.4.1. Where Crime Happened

Survey respondents were asked to provide details of where the crime happened. Table 4.3 provides an overview of this information, broken down by crime group.

The majority of crime measured by the SCJS is property crime (73%). For this reason, the main place where crime took place was immediately outside of the victim's home (47% of all SCJS crime). This includes incidents which took place on the street outside of the respondents home, on driveways, doorsteps, balconies and in the garden. A further 11% of crime took place inside the home and 1% inside the garage.

Table 4.3: Where crime happened (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of SCJS crimes Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Outside home 59 15 47
In/Near respondent/victim's place of work 10 25 14
Inside own home 11 10 11
In/Around a pub/bar/club 4 17 7
In/Around a shop/supermarket/shopping centre 4 9 6
At the home of a friend or relative 1 2 1
While travelling or near transport facilities 1 2 1
Inside garage 2 0 1
Some other place 5 5 5
Number of Respondents 1,640 280 1,930

Variable names: QWH1, QWH3, QWH5 and QWH7

Considering the crime groups separately, just under three-fifths (59%) of property crime took place immediately outside the home. In contrast, violent crime more commonly happened in or near the victim's workplace (25%) or in or near a pub, bar or club (17%) or immediately outside of the victim's home (15%).

It is not possible to provide in-depth analysis of some of these results given the small sample sizes involved. For example, the 25% of crime estimated to have happened in or near the victims' place of work is based on the experiences reported by 61 respondents. However, the vast majority of workplace violence incidents were classified as minor assault with no / negligible injury (81%), (compared to 64% of all violent crime). Similarly, the majority of violent crime which occurred in/around a pub/bar/club was minor assault with no / negligible injury (67%). Of the 61 respondents who reported workplace violence 31% worked in a caring personal service occupation, 21% worked in a protective service occupation and 17% worked as a health professional[23].

4.4.2. When Crime Happened

Respondents were also asked whether crime happened during the week or at the weekend, and at what time of day the incident occurred. Just over half (53%) of crime happened during the week and 37% occurred at the weekend.

Table 4.4 When crime happened (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of SCJS crimes Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Weekday any time 56 45 53
Weekday morning (6am - noon) 4 7 5
Weekday afternoon (noon - 6pm) 17 14 16
Weekday evening (6pm - midnight) 11 15 12
Weekday night (midnight - 6am) 12 6 10
Weekend any time 32 51 37
Weekend morning (6am - noon) 1 1 1
Weekend afternoon (noon - 6pm) 5 7 6
Weekend evening (6pm - midnight) 8 19 11
Weekend night (midnight - 6am) 12 13 12
Number of Respondents 1,640 280 1,930

Variable names: QWH1, QWH3, QWH5 and QWH7

Most property crime (56%) took place on a weekday, with 32% occurring at the weekend. Just over half (51%) of violent crimes happened at the weekend, with most taking place between 6pm and 6am (32%).

Victims of violent crime were asked for more detail about when the incident happened. This additional information indicated that just over one in five violent crimes (22%) between around 9pm and 3am on a weekend.

4.4.3. Characteristics of Offenders

Victims of crime were asked whether they had any contact with the offender(s), and whether they could provide any information about them. In 46% of crime overall, the victim was able to say something about the offender. This was higher among victims of violent crime (98%), compared to property crime (27%).

Table 4.5: Characteristics of Offenders (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of SCJS crimes where respondent was able to say anything about the offender(s) Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Gender
Male 69 77 74
Female 14 16 15
Person/People of both sexes 15 6 10
Age
School age 22 9 15
16-24 33 35 34
25-39 30 39 35
40 or over 15 22 19
Number of Respondents 400 270 670

Variable names: QSX and QAGE

Table 4.5 shows the age and gender of offenders (where victims could provide information about the offender), broken down by crime group. In general, offenders were more likely to be male (74%) than female (15%). This was the case in both property crime and violent crime. In terms of age, 69% of offenders were thought to be between 16 and 39. Property crime victims were more likely than victims of violent crime to think that offenders were of school age (22% and 9% respectively).

Table 4.6 Victim relationship with offender (SCJS, 2014/15)

Percentage of SCJS crimes Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Known well 5% 37% 14%
Just speak to casually 3% 10% 5%
Just by sight 6% 19% 10%
Number of Respondents 1,644 282 1,926

Variable names: QRE

Respondents were also asked whether they knew the offender(s), or had seen the offender(s) before. Table 4.6 provides an overview of these findings. The survey found that victims of violent crime were more likely than victims of property crime to know the offender well (37% compared to 5%).

In addition, where victims stated that they knew the offender well, they were asked for some more information about their relationship with the offender. It should be noted, however, that information on the victim's relationship with the offender(s) is based on small numbers of respondents and the numbers of respondents can differ from question to question. Survey estimates in this area should be treated with a degree of caution. In 18% of crimes where the victim knew the offender well, the offender was a friend or acquaintance; in 15% the offenders were young people from the local area and in 13% of crimes the offender was a client or member of the public contacted through work.

4.4.4. Weapons Used in Violent Crime

The offender(s) were reported to have weapons in 24% of violent crimes, and used, or threatened to use, the weapon in 90% of violent crimes where weapons were present.

The most common weapons used in violent crimes were knives (57%), bottles (40%) and sticks/clubs (28%). It is important to note, however, that these estimates are derived from small sample sizes of violent crime (and only where the victim saw or heard what was going on). For this reason, no information is presented on property crime.

4.4.5. Alcohol or Drugs in Violent Crime

Respondents were asked whether they thought that the offender was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. However, these estimates should be treated with caution as they are reliant on the victim's perception of the offender. In just over half of violent crimes (54%) the victim thought that the offender was under the influence of alcohol. Victims reported that the offender was under the influence of drugs in 23% of violent crimes.


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Email: Trish Brady-Campbell