Recorded crime in Scotland at lowest level since 1974

Recorded crime in Scotland rose by five per cent last year but remains at one of the lowest levels seen for a 12-month period since 1974.

Feb 27, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Police Scotland recorded 302,076 crimes in the year ending December 2023. This was higher than the 287,678 crimes recorded in the previous year, but two per cent lower than the 308,434 crimes recorded in the year ending December 2019.

However, Scotland’s Chief Statistician noted that the Covid-19 pandemic, and associated measures to limit social contact, has had “an impact on both the type and volume of crime recorded since March 2020”.

“The largest impact was seen during years ending December 2020 and 2021, and to a lesser extent the year ending December 2022. The final legal restrictions were lifted in April 2022, meaning the most recent year (year ending December 2023) was not impacted by these restrictions,” said Alastair McAlpine.

In the year ending December 2023 non-sexual crimes of violence were four per cent higher compared with the previous year (increasing from 69,117 to 71,900 crimes), and four per cent higher than the year ending December 2019 (increasing from 68,987 to 71,900 crimes).

Sexual crimes were two per cent higher compared to the year ending December 2022 – increasing from 14,640 to 14,894 crimes – and eight per cent higher compared with the year ending December 2019 (increasing from 13,765 to 14,894 crimes).

Crimes of dishonesty rose by 11 per cent, increasing from 100,754 in the year ending December 2022 to 111,682 crimes.

Damage and reckless behaviour was four per cent lower than the year ending December 2022 (decreasing from 43,711 to 42,124 crimes), and 13 per cent lower than the year ending December 2019 (decreasing from 48,469 to 42,124 crimes).

Crimes against society were three per cent higher compared with the year ending December 2022 (increasing from 59,442 to 61,476 crimes), but seven per cent lower than the year ending December 2019 when 65,821 crimes were recorded.

The number of offences recorded by the police in Scotland in the year ending December 2023 was 179,616, four per cent higher than the 173,269 offences recorded in the previous year ending but six per cent lower than the 192,028 offences recorded in the year ending December 2019.

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