Crime in Scotland down by a fifth during COVID lockdown

Crime in Scotland has plunged by almost a fifth during the first full month of Coronavirus lockdown, official figures have revealed.

Humza Yousaf issued fraud warning
Humza Yousaf issued fraud warning

Fire-raising and vandalism was down by a quarter, as were sex assaults and crimes of dishonesty.

The new crimes don't include those which fall under the recently enacted emergency coronavirus legislation to crack down on things like house parties which breach social distancing rules..

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Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf insisted that other crimes like fraud have been on the rise during the pandemic and urged Scots to remain vigilant.

A total of 17,171 crimes were reported in April which marks an 18% reduction (or 3,823 fewer crimes) compared to the 20,994 crimes recorded in April 2019.

Non-sexual crimes of violence fell by 14%, with a 13% decrease in crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse Act 2018.

Recorded sexual crimes were 26% lower overall, prompted mainly by a drop in offences of sexual assault (down by 46%) and rape and attempted rape (down by 27%). Fire-raising and vandalism were also down by 26%.

Mr Yousaf said: “While many types of crime have fallen in recent months, we know that some people have been using lockdown as a chance to commit offences, notably fraud – including targeting some of our most vulnerable citizens and exploiting businesses.

“We must remain vigilant to such criminals, and also to the risks of harm against those who may be living in fear of abuse and violence within their own homes. I would urge anyone who has experienced or witnessed crime to continue to report it."

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the figures show the "changes to the demands on policing" during the pandemic, but insisted it may take years to understand the wider impact of the pandemic on crime levels.

He added: "Our officers will continue to pursue fraudsters who set out to cause harm and misery to our communities. I know that private and virtual spaces are not safe places for some people and that the current restrictions may expose them to a greater risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

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"Police Scotland will always pursue reports of domestic abuse or sexual crime whenever they occur and will continue to support those who feel vulnerable in our communities.

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