How much crime is there?

All statistics in this section are from the Scottish government unless otherwise stated.

Type of crimeTotal change from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017
Non-Sexual Violence8,008 to 9,316
Sexual Violence13,547 to 13,364
Dishonesty114,506 to 111,409
Vandalism47,997 to 47,731

Recorded crime is at its lowest level since 1974. The level of crime in Scotland has fallen in recent years, with 246,516 crimes recorded by the police in 2019/20. This figure excludes minor offences such as traffic offences, eg speeding. In the last ten years crime has decreased by 24%.

Crimes of dishonesty are the largest group, making up 45% of all recorded crime in 2019/20. Non-sexual crimes of violence are the smallest group, making up 4% in the same time period.

In 2019/20, 10% of adults were estimated to have been a victim of property crime and 2.5% of adults were a victim of violent crime.

Analysing crime figures

Care must always be taken when drawing conclusions from crime statistics. Only crimes which are reported are recorded, not crimes which have been committed. An increase in crime may reflect the fact that the police are catching more criminals and not that more crime is taking place. The opposite is also true.

An increase in crime statistics may reflect more confidence in the police by the public. Crimes such as racial attacks and sexual assault may be on the increase but again these figures may be down to more public confidence in the criminal justice system to report them.