Submitted by Editor on Tue, 26/05/2020 - 15:35

We hesitate to report this, given that our last account of a reduction in Edinburgh crime was followed almost immediately by an assault on our doorstep. However, these rather startling figures are worth noting.

Statistics released by Police Scotland yesterday suggest violent crimes and housebreakings have reduced in the capital.

In the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, overall crime in the city reduced by 1.6 per cent, (818 offences) over the previous year. Spurtle has yet to analyse how much of this reduction took place during the comparatively short period of coronavirus-related lockdown.

Edinburgh’s violent crime actually rose by 182 offences, but some of these have been recorded separately under the Domestic Abuse Scotland Act, which has created ‘a single offence covering the full range of abusive behaviours, whether physical, psychological, financial or sexual’. 

This correspondent is sceptical about statistics, but at face value the trend appears to be encouraging.

  • The number of attempted murder victims fell by 5 (19%). There were 77 incidents of serious assault (a reduction of 18%).
  • Detection rates for all sexual crimes rose 3.4%, which includes a 6.3% rise in the detection rate for sexual assaults.
  • One area of sexual offending that has seen a rise in reporting is ‘lewd and libidinous crime’, which rose from 100 offences in 2018/19 to 129 in 2019/20.
  • There were 484 fewer housebreaking offences, 80 fewer motor vehicle crimes and 783 fewer shoplifting incidents. 
  • Antisocial behaviour fell, with 1,383 fewer incidents than last year.
  • There were 891 fewer noise complaint reports. and 62 fewer crimes of fire raising.
  • Road casualties in the division fell by 157 to 779. Fatalities dropped from seven to three.

Significant reductions

Chief Superintendent Sean Scott, Divisional Commander for Edinburgh, welcomed the ‘significant reductions’ in crime.

‘Tackling violent and sexual offences are two of our top priorities, along with reducing housebreaking, and I am delighted that these crimes have fallen, meaning we have several hundred fewer victims.

“We are also giving enhanced focus and attention to not only detecting domestic offences, but ensuring victims are suitably supported, while perpetrators are brought before the courts.

‘The new legislation for domestic abuse to include coercive control means we are seeing more and more reported incidents and I welcome this, as domestic abuse remains an under-reported issue. For those living in a situation where they find themselves being physically, emotionally or sexually abused by a partner, please contact us immediately so we can help you.’

Use of weapons, particularly bladed ones, during crimes is a cause for concern, Scott said, and officers are tackling the problem as one of their priorities.

‘The public continue to have a huge role in helping us not only tackle and reduce crime, but prevent it in the first instance, by taking a range of simple steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their possessions.

‘Please visit our website at www.scotland.police.uk for lots of useful information on crime prevention and personal safety.’—AM