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Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey 2020: main findings

Main findings from the Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey 2020.

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Executive summary

The Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) 2020 is a social survey which asked people about their experiences and perceptions of crime, safety, and policing during the COVID-19 pandemic.The results are based on a sample of around 2,700 telephone interviews conducted in September and October 2020. The survey is designed to be nationally representative of all private residential households in Scotland.

What does the survey tell us about crime in Scotland?

  • There were an estimated 445,000 incidents of crime experienced by adults in Scotland between September 2019 and September 2020, including incidents not reported to the police.
  • Most adults (91%) were not victims of any crime between September 2019 and September 2020, with around one-in-eleven (9%) adults in Scotland experiencing crime over this time period. It is estimated that 8% of adults were victims of property crime, and 2% experienced violent crime. The likelihood of experiencing crime was higher for those living in urban areas, with those aged 60 and over least likely to be victims.
  • Around two-thirds (67%) of all crime measured by the SVTS was property-related, with the remaining third (33%) being violent crime.
  • Around 3% of the adult population of Scotland experienced multiple victimisation, whereby they experienced two or more incidents of any crime. This group experienced 61% of all crime recorded by the SVTS.
  • 41% of crimes reported in the survey came to the attention of the police in some way.
  • Approximately three-in-five (61%) crimes reported in survey occurred before the start of the UK's first national lockdown on the 23rd March 2020, and two-in-five (39%) occurred after that point. This suggests that crime fell significantly since the start of the UK's first national lockdown (by around 35%).

What does the survey tell us about perceptions of crime, safety, and policing since the virus outbreak?

  • Just over half of people (54%) felt that crime in their local area had stayed about the same since the start of the UK's first national lockdown on the 23rd March.
  • Around three-in-four (75%) adults felt safe when walking alone in their local area after dark and most people (87%) reported no change in how safe they felt walking alone in their local area after dark since the virus outbreak.
  • More than nine-in-ten (91%) adults said that the COVID-19 pandemic had not changed how worried they felt about being a victim of crime. However, previous victims of crime felt more worried about being a victim of crime since the virus outbreak (19%) compared with just 5% of non-victims.
  • Three-in-five (60%) people believed the police in their local area were doing an 'excellent' or 'good' job, and the majority of people (74%) were satisfied with the way the police in their local area were responding to the virus outbreak.

Contact

Email: scjs@gov.scot

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