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Scottish Crime Survey 2003

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SCOTTISH CRIME SURVEY 2003

CHAPTER FIVE: UNEQUAL RISK OF CRIME

As well as estimating how many incidents of each crime happened in 2002 ( the incidence rate) the SCS can also inform us about the number of households or individuals who were the victims of crime in 2002 ( the prevalence rate). The SCS also collects information about the characteristics of both victims and non-victims, allowing an examination of how the risk of being victimised varies among different sections of the population.

This chapter will explore prevalence of crime in Scotland as a whole, and then how the risk of victimisation varies across specific groups in the population. The likelihood of repeat victimisation, that is the chance of victims experiencing more than one crime of a specific type during 2002, is also examined.

Risk of victimisation

Figures from the 2003 SCS estimate that just under a quarter of adults (23%) reported being the victim of at least one personal or household crime covered by the SCS during 2002. This remains lower than the figure for 1992 (27%) though it represents a small increase from the figure for 1999 (20%) (Appendix A.5.1).

One in six (18%) households had experienced an incident of property crime in 2002. As could be expected from the findings presented in Chapters 2 and 3, the most common property crime was vandalism, experienced by one in ten households. Three per cent of households had experienced housebreaking, other household theft and theft from a motor vehicle (Figure 5.1).

Figure 5.1: Percentage of households which were the victim of property crime in 2002

chart

Note:
1. The prevalence of motor vehicle and bicycle crime is based on vehicle and bicycle owners only.
2. Source: 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, unweighted n=5,041
motor vehicle owners, unweighted n=3,513
bicycle owners, unweighted n=1,842

Personal crimes were less common. Only 6 per cent of respondents experienced a personal crime in 2002. The most common personal crimes were assault (experienced by 3% of respondents) and other personal theft (experienced by 2%). Less than 1 per cent of respondents had experienced robbery.

Figure 5.2: Percentage of individuals who were the victim of personal crime in 2002

chart

Note:
1. Source: 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, n=5,041

Trends over time

Overall, the prevalence of both 'all SCS crime' and 'all household crime' increased significantly between 1999 and 2002, but both remained significantly lower than in 1992 (Appendix A.5.1). There was only a marginal, non-significant difference in the prevalence of 'all personal crime'. However, as with incidence rates, these overall changes mask differences in individual crime types.

The prevalence of housebreaking significantly declined between 1999 and 2002, and is now over 50 per cent (53%) lower than it was in 1992. As could be expected from the incidence rates discussed in Chapter 3, the largest increase in prevalence was for vandalism, which rose from 6 per cent in 1999 to 10 per cent in 2002. Prior to 2002, the prevalence of vandalism had remained fairly constant since 1993. All of the motor vehicle offences asked about (theft of and from a motor vehicle and attempted theft of/from a motor vehicle) have fallen significantly since 1992. Prevalence rates are presented in more detail in Appendix Table A.5.1.

Unequal Risks

The risk of victimisation varies widely between different sections of the population. People of certain ages, sex and socio-economic status are at greater or lesser risk of victimisation than others. A detailed analysis of risk of housebreaking, vandalism, vehicle theft and violent crime according to different demographic characteristics within the population are presented in Appendix Tables A.5.2 to A.5.6. However, many of the figures contained within these tables should be treated with caution as comparison with results from previous surveys shows a lack of consistency in the data. This is likely to be caused by the large sampling error associated with analysing small demographic sub-sections of the population, which is made even less accurate when combined with crimes with low incidence rates such as robbery.

For this reason, this section does not go into detail but rather highlights some of the risk factors which appear to be consistent over time:

  • Overall, men were slightly more likely than women to become the victim of both household and personal crime in 2002. This is most evident amongst 16 to 24 year old men in relation to personal crime. Men in this age group had almost double the risk of being the victim of a personal crime (21% compared to just 12% of women in the same age group).
  • People aged 16 to 24 were most likely to become victims of personal crime. Taking age and sex together, 16 to 24 year old men had over three times the risk of becoming the victim of a personal crime than other age groups (21% of 16-24 year-old men had been victims of personal crime compared to just 7% of 25-44 year-olds, and 5% of 45-49 year-olds and 1% of men aged 60 or over).
  • The high prevalence of personal crime against young men is primarily due to the high prevalence of violent crime amongst this group. In 2002, 13 per cent of men aged 16 to 24 were victims of violent crime compared with 5 per cent of men aged 25 to 44.
  • Those aged 60 or over were the least likely to become a victim of both personal and household crime. Typically, the prevalence of household crime was roughly half that of other age groups, and the prevalence of personal crime was just 1 per cent for both men and women aged 60 and over, far lower than other age groups.
  • Vehicle owners living in the most deprived areas were most likely to be victims of vehicle theft. Also, men aged 16 to 24 are twice as likely as men in other age groups and women in any age group to be victims of vehicle theft. In 2002 16 per cent of men in this age group who owned a vehicle were victims of a vehicle theft compared with 9 per cent of women of the same age and 7 per cent of men aged 25 to 44.

Repeat Victimisation

This section presents figures on repeat victimisation - the risk of being a victim of a particular offence more than once during 2002. It should be noted that the figures on repeat victimisation presented below represent the extent of repeat victimisation over one year only: some victims will experience repeated incidents but over a longer period of time.

Housebreaking

Of households that had been a victim of housebreaking in 2002, 82 per cent had been the victim of just one such incident. However, the percentage of households which experienced two or more incidents of housebreaking in 2002 is almost double that of 1999 and is closer to that of 1992 (Table 5.1).

Table 5.1: Percentage of victims of housebreaking experiencing repeated victimisation, 1992-2002

Number of incidents

1992

1995

1999

2002

One

80

88

90

82

Two

13

7

6

11

Three or more

7

5

4

7

Note:
1. Source: 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of housebreaking, unweighted n=146
2000 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of housebreaking, unweighted n=201
1996 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of housebreaking, unweighted n=197
1993 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of housebreaking, unweighted n=320

Vandalism

Repeat victimisation was most common in the case of vandalism. Of households that experienced vandalism in 2002, 64 per cent had only experienced one incident. However, over one third of all victimised households had experienced more than one incident of vandalism, and 18 per cent had been victimised three or more times. This is similar to the proportion of households which experienced vandalism more than once in previous survey sweeps (Table 5.2).

Table 5.2: Percentage of victims of vandalism experiencing repeated victimisation, 1992-2002

Number of incidents

1992

1995

1999

2002

One

72

65

72

64

Two

13

19

14

18

Three or more

15

16

15

18

Note:
1. Source: 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of vandalism, unweighted n=503
2000 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of vandalism, unweighted n=343
1996 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of vandalism, unweighted n=342
1993 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of vandalism, unweighted n=333

2. Vandalism comprises motor vehicle vandalism and property vandalism

Motor Vehicle Theft

The majority of households that experienced motor vehicle theft (including actual or attempted theft of or from a motor vehicle) in 2002 only experienced one such incident. The proportion of those victimised more than once shows an increase from 1999 but is close to the proportions in 1992 and 1995 (Table 5.3).

Table 5.3: Percentage of victims of motor vehicle theft experiencing repeated victimisation, 1999 and 2000

Number of incidents

1992

1995

1999

2002

One

81

78

89

81

Two

12

15

7

12

Three or more

7

7

4

7

Note:
1. Source: 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of motor vehicle theft, unweighted n=275
2000 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of motor vehicle theft, unweighted n=283
1996 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of motor vehicle theft, unweighted n=461
1993 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of motor vehicle theft, unweighted n=541
2. Motor vehicle theft comprises theft of a motor vehicle, theft from a motor vehicle and attempted theft of / from a motor vehicle

Violent Crime

Of those individuals who had experienced a violent offence (assault or robbery) in 2002, 30 per cent had been victimised more than once, approximately the same proportion as in previous years (Table 5.4).

Table 5.4: Percentage of victims of violent crime experiencing repeated victimisation, 1999 and 2000

Number of incidents

1992

1995

1999

2002

One

73

69

70

70

Two

15

17

6

13

Three or more

12

14

24

17

Note:
1. Source: 2003 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of violent crime, unweighted n=178
2000 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of violent crime, unweighted n=140
1996 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of violent crime, unweighted n=123
1993 Scottish Crime Survey, victims of violent crime, unweighted n=137
2. Violent crime comprises petty assault, serious assault and robbery.