Third of women fear walking alone at night as survey reveals unease over neighbourhood safety
ALMOST a third of women in Scotland do not feel safe walking their local streets alone after dark, a government survey has found.
And despite crime being at a 30-year low, more than one in ten Scots still complains that rowdy behaviour, drug dealing and vandalism are a problem in their communities.
The 2011 Scottish Household Survey reveals details of the changing face of Scotland, in everything from health and community safety, to education, home ownership and sexual orientation.
According to the annual state-of-the-nation snapshot, 29 per cent of women do not feel safe in the streets of their neighbourhoods at night.
In the country’s poorest areas, 32 per cent of all adults have this fear.
Noisy neighbours and loud parties are a problem in neighbourhoods, according to just over one in ten (10.4 per cent) Scots, while 11.7 per cent complain about drug misuse and drug dealing. Rowdy behaviour also provokes the ire of 13.9 per cent of Scots.
Last night, the figures prompted a debate between groups representing victims and the Scottish Government over crime and the fear of crime.
David Sinclair, of Victim Support Scotland, said: “Statistics may well demonstrate a level of crime that is lower, but the issues of antisocial behaviour and petty crime are very serious, particularly where they involve children or young people.
“There’s a perception that you’re not safe. People read newspapers, they hear the radio, the threats and attacks on people. For the vast majority of people in Scotland, they feel the only way they are safe at night is to be lockfast at home. For a wide range of people, not just elderly people, but many young people, there is no safety in being out on your own at night.”
However, community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham insisted fear of crime was down and people were continuing to “feel safer” in their communities.
She pointed to the fact that 78 per cent of all adults said they felt very or fairly safe while walking alone in their neighbourhoods after dark, while almost all (97 per cent) said they felt safe when they were alone in their home at night.
“Recorded crime in Scotland is at its lowest level for 37 years and the risk of being a victim of crime is falling, backed by record numbers of police officers in towns and cities across Scotland,” Ms Cunningham said.
The survey also shows that nine out of ten people say their neighbourhood is a “very” or “fairly” good place to live. There has been an increase also in people who think their neighbourhood is a “very good” place to live, from 51.7 per cent in 2007 to 55.9 per cent in 2011.
The impact of the flatlining economy and high unemployment is laid bare in the survey, which shows that about two in five (39 per cent) households in Scotland do not have any adult in full-time employment. In the most deprived areas, this rises to more than half.
Separate figures from the UK-wide Office for National Statistics yesterday showed the number of workless households in Scotland went up by 14,000 on last year, and there are 53,000 more than there were in 2007.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said the results gave a “mixed picture” of life in Scottish communities. “The SNP claims crime has fallen to a 32-year low, yet more than a tenth of people are saying drug use and vandalism are a problem in their community,” he said. “On top of that, nearly a third of Scottish women do not feel safe while walking alone at night.
“The Scottish Government might like to use recorded crime figures as proof it is not soft on justice, but this assertion isn’t convincing the people of Scotland, judging by these results.”
Labour’s Scottish affairs spokesman, Willie Bain, branded the figures a “damning indictment” of the coalition government at Westminster and the SNP government in Edinburgh, which had both chosen the “wrong priorities” for Scotland.
“Families are struggling with falling real wages and soaring bills, yet the SNP has broken promises on childcare, when they have full range of powers to act now,” he said. “Major studies show that creating more childcare places helps women into work, cuts the gender pay gap and raises more in revenue than keeping women on the dole.
“This is just further evidence that when the Scottish Government should be relentlessly focused on jobs, living standards and child poverty, Alex Salmond and his ministers are sadly idling on the job.”
Scots are also feeling the squeeze on their household budgets. The number of people who feel positive about their finances has fallen from 48 per cent at the end of 2010 to 44 per cent at the end of last year.
Fewer than half of Scots (47 per cent) said they coped well or very well. And fewer than three in ten (28 per cent) of single parent households say they are managing well financially.
Almost a third of Scots have no savings, while one in ten only has savings of £1,000 or less.
Almost half of those aged between eight and 21 do not participate in any sport, despite a high-profile government drive to give schoolchildren two hours of PE every week.
“In the year of the Olympics, and with the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow in two years’ time, it is an indictment on Scotland that barely half of young people are involved in any kind of sport,” Mr Lamont said.
“It is also depressing so many young people are missing out on musical opportunities either in school or college, and this is something that we should be making an effort to change.”
The number of smokers has fallen to the lowest ever level of 23.3 per cent, although the rate in Scotland’s poorest areas is four times higher than across the country as a whole.
Sheila Duffy, chief executive of anti-tobacco charity ASH Scotland, said: “Tobacco control measures, such as smoke-free public places, are having a positive effect on people’s health and lives.”
SURVEY RESULTS SUMMARY
The make-up of Scottish households
Just under half (49 per cent) of adult Scots are married and living with a spouse, while just over a third (34 per cent) have never been married or in a civil partnership.
The majority of adults (96.8 per cent) are of white ethnic origin, with Scottish being the predominant ethnic group (80.3 per cent).
About 5 per cent of adults between 16 and 24 are married, and by the time adults reach the age of 35 to 44 the majority are married and living with their spouse or in a same-sex civil partnership (58 per cent).
A third (33 per cent) of households contains only one person, made up of single adults (18 per cent).
Small families without children account for one-third of households.
Fear of crime
Overall prevalence of different types of antisocial behaviour is relatively low, though the most commonly perceived problems are animal nuisance, such as noise or dog fouling (26 per cent), and rubbish or litter (25 per cent).
Around three-fifths of adults say they have not experienced any kind of neighbourhood problems (58 per cent), although this decreases to 45 per cent for those living in the 15 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland.
More than three-quarters of adults say they feel very or fairly safe when walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, with males (90
per cent) more likely to feel safe than females (67 per cent).
More than than one in ten (11 per cent) say vandalism graffiti and damage to properties are a problem, while 11.7 per cent say drug dealing and misuse is a problem. Rowdy behaviour is also a cause for concern for 13.9 per cent of Scots in their communities.
Fewer than one quarter (23 per cent) of adults smoked in 2011, which continues a general downwards trend.
The 2011 proportion is a 7.4 percentage point reduction on 1999. More men than women smoke (25 per cent and 22 per cent respectively).
A third of households in Scotland (34 per cent) contain at least one person with a long-standing illness, health problem or disability.
Owner-occupier households (30 per cent) and those who rent from the private sector (21 per cent) are less likely to contain someone with long-standing health problems or disabilities than those living in the social rented sector (53 per cent) or other tenure type.
While 13 per cent of all households contain at least one person who requires regular help or care, around one in four single pensioners and one in five older smaller households have care needs.
ONE fifth of adults have no qualifications, with little difference between males and females, though those with no qualifications are more likely to have lower incomes.
Levels of satisfaction with schooling amongst parents are high, with 92 per cent of all parents with school-aged children satisfied with the education provided by their child’s school. Satisfaction parents have with schooling decreases slightly as the age of the child increases.
About two-fifths of households have access to some form of play areas within their neighbourhood. A half have access to a park, and 46 per cent have access to either a playground or field.
Just over three quarters of young people aged eight to 21 take part in some of activities regularly.
OWNER occupation is the predominant tenure for most household types (64 per cent).
The notable exceptions are single-parent households where 47 per cent are in social-rented housing and, to a lesser extent, single-adult households where 35 per cent in the social-rented sector.
The private rented sector has shown small but consistent signs of growth from 5 per cent in 1999 to 11 per cent in 2011, associated with a decline in the social-rented sector, down by about 23 per cent over the past five years.
The 15 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland are characterised by high concentrations of social housing, with over half (56 per cent) of households in the social-rented sector. This compares to 17 per cent in the rest of Scotland.
Owner occupied households show more long-term stability in staying at a single address.
THE number of Scots who feel positively about their household finances decreased, from 48 per cent at the end of 2010 to 44 per cent at the end of 2011.
Overall, just under half (47 per cent) of all adults in 2011 say they manage quite well or very well. Less than three-in-ten (28 per cent) of single parent households say they are not managing well financially.
Those households in social and private-rented sectors are less likely to say they are managing well (25 per cent and 36 per cent respectively) as compared to those who live in owner-occupied accommodation (58 per cent).
Almost three-in-ten households (27 per cent) did not have any savings or investments in 2011, with almost one-in-ten households (12 per cent) having less than £1,000 savings. Over half (56 per cent) of households in the social-rented sector have no savings.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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