Crime: introduction

Crime, through both its impact on victims and indirect effects on the wider community, has strong links to health and wellbeing at a population level.

In recent years, overall recorded crime levels have seen a sustained decrease, falling to their lowest level since 1974. However it is accepted that often crime is not reported and so recorded crime numbers only provide a partial picture of true crime levels. Bearing this caveat in mind, it is notable that over the last ten years there have been large drops in crimes of dishonesty (e.g. robbery, housebreaking and theft of and from a vehicle) and over the last couple of years non-sexual crimes of violence and serious violent crime have also reduced. However, these are national trends that are not necessarily consistent throughout Scotland.

The nature, frequency and level of different crimes occurring within neighbourhoods will impact on people's concerns about crime and their feelings of safety about living in their neighbourhood. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Scottish Household Survey are the main sources for information on people's perceptions of crime and fear of crime in communities.

The Data pages provide examples of patterns and trends in recorded crime levels and perception of crime within Scotland, while the Key data sources page provides links to crime related information on other web sites. There are clear links between crime, alcohol and drugs use, particularly in relation to violent crime. The Violence, Alcohol and Drugs sections provide detailed information on these issues.