More than half of all violent crime happens to 1% of Scots

Less than one per cent of Scotland’s population experienced 59 per cent of all violent crime last year, figures show.

Less than 1 per cent of Scotland's population experience a majority of violent crime. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Less than 1 per cent of Scotland's population experience a majority of violent crime. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

According to Scottish Government statistics, overall crime levels have fallen by 16 per cent since 2016/17, with just 0.7 per cent of people falling victim to more than one violent crime.

The figures show this small group experienced nearly three-fifths of all violent offences, with those living in the most deprived areas almost twice as likely to be victims of violence than people living elsewhere.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The annual Scottish Crime and Justice Survey published figures based on 5,475 face-to-face interviews with members of the public.

The Scottish Government said the figures showed that crime is at the lowest level ever estimated by the survey, with violent crime at almost half the level of 2008/9.

But it estimated that just over a third of incidents were reported to police, with just 23 per cent of victims reporting forced sexual intercourse.

And there were calls for urgent action after it emerged that a more than a quarter of women aged 16-24 have experienced at least one incident of stalking or harassment in the past year.

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I welcome these encouraging findings on long-term crime trends and how safe people feel in their communities.

“I remain concerned about the level of repeat victimisation, and that people in the most deprived communities are more likely to experience violence. While these findings are not new, we must not simply accept them as a fact of life, and we will continue our work to further understand and reduce violence wherever it persists.”

According to the figures, 98 per cent of adults in Scotland experienced no violent crime in 2017/18, while the proportion of violent crime involving offenders under the influence of alcohol fell from 63 per cent in 2008/9 to 46 per cent.

Property crime, which accounted for 71 per cent of all offending, was 41 per cent lower than in 2008-09, the survey found.

A fifth of women have experienced at least one incident of partner abuse since the age of 16, with those in the most deprived areas more likely to have been victims.

Nearly five per cent of respondents living in the most deprived areas reported abuse in the 12 months prior to interview, compared with almost three per cent of those living in the rest of Scotland.

Labour justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “The government are badly letting people down by failing to bring forward strategies to prevent violent crime in Scotland’s most deprived communities and ultimately failing to tackle poverty.”

On the figures showing only 23 per cent of respondents reported the most recent or only incident of forced sexual intercourse to the police, he said: “These figures are absolutely horrifying, and show how much further we have to go, not just in the criminal justice system, but in our society to create safe spaces for victims to come forward.

“We know these cases are under reported in the first place – it’s now time for policy makers across the spectrum to ask the tough question why and how to reverse that trend.”

The Lib Dems called for urgent action to tackle “frightening” levels of stalking and harassment.

Liam McArthur MSP said: “The number of young women experiencing stalking or other forms of harassment is frighteningly high.

“Every person should feel confident they can walk down the street or safely have an online profile.

“Stalking and harassment are disturbing crimes that can have consequences on their victims for years to come and jeopardise people’s mental health.”

He added: “The justice secretary must urgently set out how he intends to address this serious issue of public safety.”