Summary of SCJS 2018-19 – Hannah Dickson

Full statistical publication here.

The volume of crime in Scotland, including incidents not reported to the police, has fallen by 45% over the last decade and by 20% since 2016/17 from an estimated 1,045,000 incidents in 2008/09 to 573,000 in 2018/19.  Most adults did not experience crime in 2018/19. The proportion of adults experiencing crime decreased from one-in-five to one-in-eight between 2008/09 and 2018/19.

The SCJS estimates that the police became aware of 36% of crime in 2018/19, a similar proportion to previous years. The relationships between confidence and trust in the police and willingness to report crime is complex and will account for some of this gap in reporting.

There were an estimated 573,000 crimes in 2018/19, of which 408,000 (71%) were property crimes and 165,000 (29%) were violent crimes. Since 2008/09 property crime has decreased by 44% whilst violent crime almost halved (down 48%) over the same time period. The 2018/19 SCJS found no statistically significant change in the level of crime (including both violent and property crime) since 2017/18.

As in previous years, crime was concentrated among victims of multiple victimisation – just under one-in-ten adults (8.9%) experienced one crime in 2018/19, victims of two or more incidents (3.5% of adults) accounted for over half (55%) of all crime in 2018/19. Repeat victims of violence (0.7% adults) are estimated to have experienced three-fifths (60%) of all violent crime in 2018/19.

The likelihood of being a victim of any crime in 2018/19 was higher for those living in the most deprived areas of Scotland, and urban locations, whilst those aged 60 and over were least likely to be victims.

Violent crime continues to be experienced disproportionately among some groups in the population. For example, despite a fall in the violent victimisation rate for 16 to 24 year olds since 2008/09, this age group has re-emerged in the 2018/19 survey as the cohort most likely to be victims of violence.

Unlike in previous years, the SCJS detected no difference in the likelihood of experiencing violence in 2018/19 between adults living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland and those living elsewhere (3.2% and 2.0%, respectively). As a newly emerged finding for 2018/19, this will be an area to review in future surveys to see if this trend continues.

Consistent with previous years, the 2018/19 results show that most violent crimes involved offenders who were male, under the age of 40 and known (or previously seen) by the victim. Offenders being under the influence of alcohol or drugs continued to be fairly common factors in violent crime in 2018/19, though the presence of weapons was relatively uncommon and has fallen since 2010/11 (when this data was first collected in its current format).

The proportion of adults experiencing property crime has fallen from 18.0% in 2008/09 to 10.9% in 2018/19, with the estimated number of incidents occurring down by 44% over the same period. Both the volume of property crime and victimisation rate have shown stability since the previous survey in 2017/18. Vandalism continued to be the most common form of property crime experienced in Scotland (accounting for 38% of incidents) but has more than halved in volume since 2008/09.

This year’s SCJS also includes analysis of new questions on cyber fraud and computer misuse, providing information on people’s experiences of these types of crime. Whilst findings should be interpreted with a degree of caution due to the limited nature of the questions and how respondents may have engaged with them, the initial results suggest that cyber fraud and computer misuse were issues encountered by a sizeable minority of the population in 2018/19, and that most people did not bring such experiences to the attention of the police.  One-in-five adults who use the internet said they had experienced cyber fraud or computer misuse, according to a new report. Most victims reported no impact on them but they changed their online behaviours as a result.

Safety and perceptions

Just under three-quarters of respondents thought that the local crime rate had stayed the same or reduced in the two years prior to interview (73%), up from 69% in 2008/09 and unchanged from 2017/18.

More than three-quarters (78%) said they felt very or fairly safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, up from 66% in 2008/09.

Despite general improvements in perceptions of crime and feelings of safety since 2008/09, differences remain in the population. For example, women, people in deprived areas and victims of crime were less likely to feel safe, more likely to be worried about specific types of crime, and more likely to think they would experience crime in the coming year.

 

Confidence in policing and justice system

The majority of adults (56%) said the police in their local area do an excellent or good job, and across a variety of policing measures. This figure has been stable in the last few years, but has fallen from 61% in 2012/13 (when the question was first asked). Victims of crime and those living in the 15% most deprived areas were less likely to feel this way about the police than comparator groups.

Generally the public were fairly confident about the operation of the justice system in Scotland. However, adults were less confident on other related measures, for example, 37% were confident that it gives sentences which fit the crime, with 58% saying they were not confident.

Where to go for more information?

Further breakdowns for some smaller population groups are also being published on perception of crime in the local area from the Scottish Survey Core Questions, which combines data from the three large Scottish Government household surveys. These breakdowns are available on the Scottish Survey Core Questions webpage.

More information about the survey, including the online data tables for 2018/19 results are available on the Scottish Government website.

 

A report on Hate Crime in Scotland 2019-20 has been published by COPFS:

The full report can be found at https://www.copfs.gov.uk/media-site-news-from-copfs/1887-hate-crime-in-scotland-2019-20

The main findings are

  • There has been an increase in the number of charges reported in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19 for all categories of hate crime.
  • Racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime. In total 3,038 charges relating to race crime were reported in 2019-20, an increase of 4 percent compared to 2018-19. Although the number of charges has increased in 2019-20, it is still the second lowest annual figure since consistent figures became available in 2003-04.
  • Sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most commonly reported type of hate crime. The number of charges reported increased by 24 percent in 2019-20 to 1,486. With the exception of 2014-15, there have been year on year increases in charges reported since the legislation introducing this aggravation came into force in 2010.
  • There were 660 religiously aggravated charges reported in 2019-20, an increase of 24 percent compared to 2018-19. Direct comparisons are not possible with earlier years, but the number of charges reported with a religious aggravation in 2019-20 appears to be at around the same level as the number of charges containing a religious element in 2015-16, but lower than the level in 2016-17.
  • The number of disability aggravated charges increased by 29 percent to 387 in 2019-20.
  • There were 41 charges reported in 2019-20 with an aggravation of transgender identity, compared to 40 in 2018-19.

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