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07/03/14 09:33

Overall crime trend continues to fall

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The overall risks of being a victim of crime and the overall number of crimes have both continued the decreasing trend seen in recent years. Trends vary by crime sub-group.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) 2012-13: Main Findings. The figures show that:
• There were 815,000 crimes as measured by the SCJS in 2012/13, including:
o Approximately 579,000 property crimes (71 per cent of crime) involving theft or damage to personal or household property (including vehicles);
o Approximately 236,000 violent crimes of assault or robbery (29 per cent of crime).
• The number of crimes has fallen by 22% since 2008-09, from 1,045,000 crimes in 2008-09 to 815,000 crimes in 2012-13. This change is statistically significant.

• The risk of being a victim of a crime has fallen from 20.4% in 2008/09 to 16.9% in 2012/13. This change is statistically significant.
• The 2012/13 survey estimates that around one in six (16.9%) adults aged 16 or over was the victim of at least one crime.
o 14.8% of adults were estimated to have been a victim of property crime;
o 3.1% of adults had been a victim of violent crime.
• The risk of crime is lower in Scotland than in England and Wales where the victimisation rate was 18.7% in 2012/13.

The results published in the report also include headline estimates for most of the questions contained in the SCJS 2012/13, including:

• The public are more positive about the general crime rate in their local area. The public perception of the local crime rate as having stayed the same or improved in the past two years has increased to 76 per cent in 2012/13 from 69 per cent in 2008/09. This is a statistically significant change.

• 72% of adults are estimated to have felt safe walking alone in their local area after dark in 2012/13, representing a statistically significant change of six percentage points from 66% in 2008/09.

• In 70 per cent of crime, victims said they thought what happened was a crime. 39 per cent of crimes were reported to the police, around the same rate as in recent years. Two-thirds of victims of crime (66 per cent) were satisfied with the way the police handled the matter and the majority of adults were confident in their local police forces ability to Investigate incidents after they occur (73 per cent); to Deal with incidents as they occur (68 per cent); Solve crimes (64 per cent); Respond quickly to appropriate calls and information (66 per cent); Catch criminals (61 per cent); and, Prevent crime (56 per cent).

• Respondents were more likely to think that they were likely to experience crime than they actually were; for example, 6 times as many adults thought that they were likely to have their home broken into than actually did have their home broken into (7 per cent compared with the actual risk of housebreaking of 1.2 per cent).

• The majority of respondents were confident about a range of statements on the criminal justice system, for example that it allows victims of crime to seek justice (66 per cent) and that it allows those accused to receive a fair trial (77 per cent).

• Around two-thirds of respondents agreed that community sentencing is an effective way of dealing with less serious crime (66 per cent) and that prisons are effective at protecting the public from crime (68 per cent), however less than half were confident that the justice system deals with cases promptly and efficiently (43 per cent) and that it gives punishments that fit the crime (32 per cent).

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

Surveys produce estimates for variables and significance testing determines the likelihood that real changes exist when comparing estimates to previous survey estimates.

Because of sampling variation, changes in reported estimates between survey years or between population subgroups may occur by chance. In other words, the change may simply be due to which respondents were randomly selected for interview, rather than a real change.
Whether this is likely to be the case has been assessed using standard statistical tests to examine whether differences are likely to be due to chance or represent a real difference. In general, only differences that are statistically significant at the five per cent level (and are therefore likely to be real as opposed to occurring by chance) are described as differences within this report.
The full statistical publication is available at

This report covers the year from April 2012 to March 2013, prior to the establishment of new national policing and fire and rescue services in Scotland.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey is one of the Scottish Government’s flagship national surveys delivering robust evidence for the “Safer and Stronger” Strategic Objective. The survey allows the people of Scotland to independently report their experiences and perceptions of crime, and thus influence the continued development and improvement of the Scottish Justice system.

This now biennial publication presents statistics on the extent of crime in Scotland, importantly including crime that is not reported to the police. It also provides a range of additional information, including details of adults’ perception of crime, the characteristics of crime, victims and offenders, confidence in the police, attitudes to the criminal justice system and perceptions of the local crime rate.

The SCJS provides estimates of the level of crime in Scotland. It includes crimes that are not reported to or recorded by the police, but is limited to crimes against adults resident in households, and also does not cover all crime types. Police recorded crime is a measure of those crimes reported to the police and recorded by them as a crime or offence.

The SCJS is the data source for two National Indicators for Scotland's National Performance Framework - crime victimisation rate and public perception of general crime rate in local area.

Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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