Police in the Western Isles recorded 45% fewer crimes at the end of the last decade than the start – the largest decline in Scotland.
New statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show the total number of crimes recorded by the police in the islands fell from 754 in 2010-11 down to 414 in 2019-20.
The number of recorded non-sexual crimes of violence, a category which includes homicide, attempted murder and serious assault, fell from 37 at the start of the decade to just 11 at the end – though the last year saw the islands’ first recorded case of robbery since 2014-15.
Crimes of dishonesty, which includes housebreaking, shoplifting and theft of a motor vehicle, halved in that timespan, dropped by 63%, from 266 in 2010-11 to 99 in 2019-20.
There were 10 cases of housebreaking in the islands recorded by police in 2019-20 – down from 18 at the beginning of the decade.
Cases of drunken and disorderly conduct dropped from 79 in 2010-11 to just six in 2019-20.
Domestic abuse statistics have been included in the NRS release for the first time, after the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 was enacted in April 2019. The Western Isles recorded two cases in the past year.
In Scotland as a whole, total recorded crime is down by 24% between 2010-11 and 2019-20, though the number of recorded sexual crimes has doubled in that same time.
The NRS states that at least 40% of the sexual crimes recorded by the police in 2019-20 related to a victim under the age of 18 – a proportion similar to the previous year.
Regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown on the statistics, the NRS said: “This had a significant impact on daily living which also affected the number of crimes and offences recorded, to varying degrees.
“As these developments only cover the final few days of the 2019-20 reporting year, they are unlikely to have had a significant effect on the crime statistics presented in this bulletin.
“However they are likely to have a more significant impact on the 2020-21 figures.”
Area Commander, Chief Inspector Ian Graham said: “This is the third successive year that a reduction has been recorded in significant elements of violent crime and I am confident this is down to close collaboration with our partners and communities. These relationships are at the heart of our firmly embedded prevent agenda which is in place across the Highlands & Islands.
“We work with colleagues in our specialist resources to tackle a range of issues, like fraud for example, and we will persistently pursue those who set out to cause misery to our communities.
“Our focus and efforts in detecting and charging those responsible for committing crime also remains very high and I can assure you that we remain fully committed to keeping our communities safe and will continue in our collaborative efforts to achieve that.”