Although there is a slowly improving trend in perceptions and feelings of safety, there is a persistent and demonstrable gap between perceived and actual risk of crime, with people over-estimating their risk of becoming a victim of crime. When the fear of crime becomes disproportionate to the reality, it can have a devastating effect on a person's sense of personal safety, lifestyle and quality of life. These effects can curtail social activities through an unwillingness to leave our own homes and can increase stress, fear and anxiety. There can also be a cost to local communities as people become less willing to engage in community activities, leading to less resilient and supportive communities.
There are a number of key drivers which can impact on perception and fear of crime, including:
- Personal experience of crime
- Perceptions of personal risk and vulnerability
- Confidence in the police that they will be protected from crime and that criminals will be dealt with
- Confidence that they will be treated with respect if they are a victim or if they witness a crime
- Disorderly surroundings such as litter, abandoned buildings/cars, graffiti and broken/barricaded windows
- Disruptive behaviour such as rowdy youths, drunken behaviour and inconsiderate neighbours
- Knowledge of local trends and events
- Media sensationalism when reporting crimes
The places and neighbourhoods where we live and grow up shape the opportunities we have as well as being important for our physical and mental health and our overall wellbeing.
Focusing on local neighbourhoods provides the opportunity to develop more integrated and joined up local services and connect the key characteristics of local places, including economic, physical and social aspects.
The Justice Vision and Priorities published in 2017, recognises the importance of place, community relations and the quality of the local environment in creating safer communities.
More information is available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Justice/justicestrategy
Further to this, the introduction of the Place Standard - a community tool developed in partnership with NHS Health Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland – we can better evaluate ‘what works’ in an area, the quality of places and to help communities, public authorities and industry to work together to create places that support healthy lifestyles and tackle inequalities, particularly health inequalities.
Next to this, a collaborative Place Principle has recently been agreed across partners which provides a shared understanding of place, and highlights the need to take a more joined up, collaborative approach to services and assets within a place to achieve better outcomes for people and the communities in which we live.
The Government can also promote and encourage innovative approaches to make communities safer. We continue to use seized criminal assets to benefit communities through our unique 'CashBack for Communities' initiative and we continue to Build Safer Communities through shared learning and experience.
- As well as continued government investment in policing and funding partners such as Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, Crimestoppers and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre. In the year ahead further work is underway into those areas where violence persists to examine a large sample of crime records to identify further the characteristics of victims and offenders, including their relationships, as well as the settings for these crimes, the injuries sustained and the role of weapons, alcohol or drugs.
The proportion of adults saying that the local crime rate had stayed the same or reduced in the past two years was 76% in 2016/17, compared to 75% in 2014/15 and 65% in 2006, the baseline year for this indicator.
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
There were some differences between the perception of local crime rate:
- Males (79%) were more likely to agree that the local crime rate had reduced or stayed the same in the last two years, compared to females (73%).
- Those who were a victim of crime were less likely than non-victims to think that the local crime rate had reduced or stayed the same in the last two years (69% compared to 76% for non-victims).
- 71% of adults living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland were agreed that the crime rate had reduced or stayed the same in their local area, compared to 76% of adults living in the rest of Scotland.
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
This evaluation criteria is based on the actual results presented in the Scottish Crime & Justice Survey Main Findings report for detecting statistically significant change. The calculation of the statistically significant criteria for change uses the SCJS estimates and their base sizes to calculate an accurate test statistic to compare against the absolute difference between the two estimates.
The evaluation this year is based on: any difference within +/- 1.9 percentage point of previous survey suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1.9 percentage point or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1.9 percentage point or more suggests the position is worsening.
The change of 0.8 percentage points between 2016/17 (75.5%) 2014/15 (74.7%) is not a statistically significant change. The change is therefore within the criteria for change (measured as 1.9% this year) and so performance for this indicator is ‘maintaining’.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
Scottish Police Forces
Scottish Prison Service
Victim Support Scotland
Safer and Stronger
Wealthier and Fairer