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Fear of crime continues to fall

Published: 15 Mar 2016 09:30
Part of:
Law and order

People feel safer in their communities.

The majority of adults (74 per cent) felt very safe or fairly safe walking alone after dark, up from 66 per cent in 2008/09 and 72 per cent in 2012/13 according to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15, published today.

The likelihood of becoming a victim of crime in Scotland has also fallen to 14.5 per cent, meaning one in seven adults are now at risk, lower than the equivalent in England and Wales at 15.9 per cent.

The estimated number of crimes also fell by around a third since 2008/09 from 1,045,000 to 688,000 in 2014/15.

The survey also includes figures on confidence in policing for the first time since Police Scotland was established.

Overall the majority of participants (58 per cent) said the police were doing a good or excellent job in their local area, down slightly from 61 per cent in 2012/13.

Other key findings include:

• One in seven adults were a victim of crime in 2014/15 compared to one in six adults in 2012/13 and one in five adults in 2008/09.
• Nearly three-quarters of people feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark.
• People's perception that they could be a victim of crime continues to be higher than the actual risk – for example nearly four per cent of people fear their vehicle being stolen while the risk is 0.1 per cent.
• Confidence in police remains strong, with 70 per cent of people reporting confidence in police to investigate incidents.
• Confidence in the justice system continues to improve with 60 per cent of people agreeing that it brings people who commit crime to justice, up from 53 per cent in 2008/09.
• A positive response to community sentencing with 70 per cent agreeing that this type of sentencing is effective in dealing with low level, non-violent crime.
• Confidence in prisons with 70 per cent of respondents agreeing they are effective at protecting the public from crime.
• Although the risk of crime in deprived areas has fallen from 26 per cent in 2008/09 to 21 per cent in 2014/15 it remains higher than the rest of Scotland.
• Less than five per cent of adults were the victim of multiple crimes. 3.5 per cent of adults were repeat victims of property crime and 0.8 per cent of adults were repeat victims of violent crime.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, said:

"It is extremely encouraging to see that the risk of becoming a victim of crime in Scotland continues to fall, with the likelihood of experiencing crime remaining lower than in England and Wales.

"The country is becoming a safer place thanks to the continued efforts of our communities and law enforcement agencies and I am glad this message seems to be getting through to the public, with those surveyed claiming to feel safer in their neighbourhoods than in previous years.

"There is still more work to do though, as we know in most cases the public still think they are at least two to three times more at risk of experiencing a crime than is actually likely.

"I am pleased to see that the overall majority of those surveyed (89 per cent) responded positively when asked how they thought police were performing in their area, either agreeing that local police were doing a fair, good or excellent job.

"There have of course been challenges since the introduction of the single service but I am confident that Police Scotland can build on these positive results to further improve how the public view the force.

"The figures published today show that our approach to justice in Scotland is working, crime is down, people feel safer and the likelihood of becoming a victim continues to fall. We will not be complacent though. This Government remains committed to doing all it can to protect the people of Scotland and work towards safer communities for all."