Who commits crime?

Statistics show that some groups of people are more likely to commit crime than others. People are more likely to commit crime if they are: -

  • Younger - The peak age for criminal convictions is 21-25 for males and 26-30 for females. For offences (minor crimes, eg breach of the peace) the peak age is lower for both males and females.
  • Male - The majority of crime (73 per cent) is committed by men. Almost all violent crime is committed by men.
  • Living in an urban area - The majority of crime happens in cities, particularly in city centres at weekends or in areas with poorer quality housing.

In Scotland in 2012/13, 116,623 people were taken to court. This was a seven per cent decrease on the previous year and the lowest level since 2003/04. Of those taken to court, 100,964 were found guilty of a crime (87 per cent of the total).

Who is affected by crime?

The chances of being a victim of a crime are not the same for every person. People from some groups are more likely to be victims of crime than others.

Young people face a higher risk of being a victim of crime compared to older people. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey shows: -

  • 16.9 per cent of adults aged 16 or over were the victim of at least one crime in 2012/13
  • 24 per cent of 16-24 year olds were victims of crime
  • only 9 per cent of those aged 60 or older were victims of crime

The risk of being a victim of violent crime also decreases with age: -

  • 8 per cent for 16-24 year olds
  • 0.5 per cent of those aged over 60 years

The risk of being a victim of any crime was slightly higher for males than for females. 18 per cent of males had been the victim of at least one crime in 2011/12 compared with 16 per cent of females. Around 4 per cent of males experienced violent crime in 2011/12 compared to only 2 per cent of women.

The risk of being the victim of crime was much greater for people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

When and where crime happens

45 per cent of all property crimes took place immediately outside the home. In contrast, violent crime happened in a number of locations including in or around a pub, bar or club (12 per cent) and in or near the victim's place of work (32 per cent).

54 per cent of all property crime took place on a weekday and 33 per cent took place at the weekend. In contrast, 49 per cent of violent crime took place at the weekend.