Sex crimes in Scotland at highest level since 1971, latest figures show

Sex crimes rose 15% in Scotland last year to the highest level in more than five decades, according to the latest figures.

June 28, 2022

By Paul Jacques

Despite an overall drop in crimes recorded by Police Scotland between 2020/21 and 2021/22, the number of sex crimes fell from 13,131 to 15,049, the highest total recorded since 1971, the first year for which comparable groups are available. The Scottish Government estimates that at least 37% of sex crimes recorded by police in 2021/22 involved a victim under the age of 18, similar to recent years.

Crimes of non-sexual violence increased by 12%, from 61,913 to 69,286. The Scottish Government says this is due to an increase in common assault (also up 12%), which “represents the net majority” (84%) of all recorded non-sexual violent crimes in 2021/22.

The latest crime figures recorded by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, released on Tuesday June 28, show that sex crimes accounted for 5% of all crime recorded by Police Scotland in 2021/22, with the report noting that this was continuing an “increase long-term trend since 1974”. He added: “Before small decreases in 2019/20 and 2020/21, there had been increases every year since 2008/09.

“The issue of historical sex crime reporting also continues to play a role in the latest statistics. Further information from Police Scotland suggests that just under a quarter (23%) of sex crimes in 2021/22 were recorded at least a year after they occurred.

Rape and attempted rape cases rose 9% to 2,498 last year, accounting for 17% of all reported sex crimes.

Sexual assaults accounted for 36% of sex crimes, up 29% from 4,154 cases in 2020/21 to 5,359 in 2021/22.

The number of sex crimes that were cyber-enabled is estimated to have increased from 1,100 in 2013/14 to 4,210 in 2021/22.

Overall, crime recorded by Police Scotland fell by 4% from 299,452 to 286,464 in 2021/22 – the lowest level seen since 1974. The Scottish Government says the fall was driven by an 81% reduction in crimes recorded under coronavirus-related legislation (from 20,976 to 3,913). All other crimes collectively increased by 1%.

He added: “Over the last ten years, the total number of recorded crimes in Scotland has fallen by 14%. This continues a generally downward trend in recorded crime over the longer term, since a peak in 1991, when the number of crimes hit a record high of 613,943.”

The latest statistics show that dishonesty crimes increased by 4%, from 89,731 to 92,873. The recording of these crimes is at the second lowest level observed since 1971.

Damage and reckless behavior offenses rose 3% from 42,964 to 44,284 – the second lowest level seen since 1976.

Crimes against society decreased by 14%, from 70,737 to 61,059, most of which were related to drug possession, crimes against public justice or the handling of offensive weapons.

An estimated 14,280 cybercrimes were recorded by Police Scotland in 2021/22. This figure is similar to the estimated 14,860 cybercrimes recorded in 2020/21, but a sharp increase from the estimated 7,710 cybercrimes recorded in 2019/20.

“Part of this increase since 2019/20 may be due to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including behavioral changes, such as increased online shopping,” the Scottish government says.

“We estimate that cybercrimes accounted for more than one in four (28%) sexual crimes in 2021/22 and around one in ten (9%) dishonesty crimes.”

Official settlement rate statistics show a decline from 59.3% in 2020/21 to 54.0%.

The Scottish Government says the increase in 2020/21 ‘likely reflects the impact of the coronavirus pandemic’ on the types of crime recorded, with the volume of those crimes which have relatively lower solve rates falling more steeply than those with relatively higher resolution rates. raise prices.

He added: “The drop to 54% in 2021/22 reflects a partial return to the volume of different types of crime recorded in the year before the pandemic, although clearance rates have fallen further for each of the groups. individual criminals. . This included non-sexual violent crimes (down from 72.1% to 67.1%), sex crimes (58.4% to 53.5%) and dishonesty crimes (37.9% to 31.6 %).

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