Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2021/22

The latest figures show that the overall level of crime, and likelihood of becoming a victim of crime, continues to fall in Scotland.
Two police walking in Edinburgh
  • Authors:
    Leon Page Alex Scholes
    Sophie Birtwistle
    Chris Martin
    Colin Hockaday
  • Publishing date:
    28 November 2023

About the study

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is an annual survey of around 5,500 people living in Scotland, carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen) and Ipsos. It is a large-scale, nationally representative survey which asks people about their experiences and perceptions of crime and the justice system in Scotland and has been running since 2008/09. The survey provides the official national statistics on the prevalence of crime in Scotland and is used to track how crime is changing over time, as well as to guide public policy.


The 2021/22 Scottish Crime and Justice survey shows that the overall level of crime and the likelihood of being a victim of crime has fallen over the last 15 years or so. The latest findings also show that people feel safer in their local communities though there has been a fall in confidence in the police across a range of measures. Key findings include the following:

  1. The 2021/22 Scottish Crime and Justice survey (SCJS) shows that the overall level of crime and the likelihood of being a victim of crime in Scotland continues to fall. Since the last survey in 2019/20, the proportion of adults experiencing crime in the last 12 months has fallen to 10%, the lowest level since the survey began in its current form in 2008/09. 
  2. Highest victimisation rates are seen in younger people (15%), disabled people (13%), deprived areas (14%) and urban areas (11%). As in previous years, crime was concentrated among victims experiencing multiple victimisation – 3% were victims of two or more incidents and experienced around 59% of all crime in the year.
  3. As in previous years, violent crime (27% of all crime) was less common than property crime (73% of all crime), with the long-term decrease in overall crime underpinned by large falls in both categories.
  4. There has been a 58% decrease in violent crime in Scotland since 2008/09 – the 2021/22 results show that most violent crimes involved offenders who were male, under the age of 40 and known (or previously seen) by the victim, which is consistent with previous years.
  5. Just under 1 in 10 (9%) Scottish adults experienced property crime in 2021/22, a 9-percentage point decrease since 2008/09. Vandalism continues to be the most common form of property crime in Scotland (accounting for 35% of incidents), followed by other household theft (including bicycle theft) and personal theft.
  6. Just under half of adults (49%) said the police in their area do an excellent or good job. This is down from 55% in 2019/20. Victims and people living in deprived areas were less likely to feel positively about the police.
  7. Three-quarters (76%) of respondents thought that the local crime rate had stayed the same or reduced in the two years prior to interview, up from 73% in 2019/20 and 69% in 2008/09. A majority of people (52%) now think the national crime rate has decreased or stayed the same, up from 45% in 2019/20 and 40% in 2009/10.
  8. The proportion of people reporting they felt safe when walking home in their local area or on their own at home during the night were higher in 2021/22 than in 2008/09 but are unchanged in the last few years. Men were more likely to report feeling safe than women.


The sample used for the SCJS is designed to be representative of all private residential households across Scotland. Interviewers called at each address and then selected one adult (aged 16 or over) at random from the household members for interview. The questionnaire was conducted via face-to-face interviewing, if this was not possible or respondents were not willing to let an interviewer into their home, a telephone or video interview option was available. Interviews were conducted between November 2021 and December 2022. A total of 5,516 interviews were conducted and the achieved response rate was 47.3%. All respondents were asked about incidents experienced in the 12 months prior to the month of interview. An average interview lasted about 40 minutes. The results obtained were weighted to correct for the unequal probability of selection for interview caused by the sample design and for differences in the level of response among groups of individuals.