Allegations of murder and death by dangerous driving reported to police increased in Scotland in the past year, according to the latest statistics.
Data showed some 297,425 crimes were recorded for the year ending September 2023, with more than 71,000 violent offences.
The Recorded Crime in Scotland statistics indicate a 3% increase in reports of crime overall compared to 2022.
The data showed 71,571 violent crimes.
Crimes categorised as “other non-sexual violence”, a category which was not broken down further, increased by 23% compared to 2022, from 3,890 to 4,788 – but increased by 78% compared to the year ending September 2019.
Violent crime was 5% higher compared to 2019, increasing from 68,170 to 71,571 crimes, and 3% higher than the year ending September 2022, increasing from 69,353 to 71,571.
One of the biggest increases was for death by dangerous driving, which jumped by 38% compared to 2022, and offences involving a weapon being used, which rose by a fifth compared to 2019.
Murder and culpable homicide increased by 15% compared to 2022, from 47 to 54 crimes, but fell by 26% compared to the year ending September 2019.
Fraud rose by 70% compared to 2019 and shoplifting increased by 30% compared to the previous year (from 25,978 to 33,789 crimes).
Robbery increased by 23% compared to 2022, from 1,520 to 1,877 crimes.
Sexual offences were 8% higher compared to the year ending September 2019, increasing from 13,566 to 14,704 crimes.
Offences involving indecent images of children have increased by 44% since September 2019.
Anti-social behaviour was down by 10% compared to the year ending September 2022, falling from 53,032 to 47,502 offences, and 22% lower compared to the year ending September 2019, decreasing from 60,668.
Theft of a motor vehicle increased by 13% compared to 2022, from 4,800 to 5,438 crimes, and increased by 12% from the year ending September 2019, from 4,868 to 5,438 crimes.
Possession of a weapon which was used increased by 9% from 5,545 to 6,051 crimes, but increased by 20% from the year ending September 2019, from 5,042 to 6,051 crimes.
Offences involving possession of a weapon which was not used increased by 15% compared to 2022, from 3,951 to 4,528 crimes.
Drunk and disorderly behaviour fell by 41% from 4,413 to 2,601 offences, and decreased by 57% from September 2019 from 6,085 to 2,601 offences.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay said: “This worrying increase in violent crime must be seen in the context of the SNP’s weak justice agenda which abjectly fails victims.
“Police Scotland is at breaking point due to the SNP’s severe and sustained cuts to budgets. The consequential rise in violence will come as no surprise to frustrated and exhausted police officers.
“Rather than tackle violence on our streets, nationalist ministers pander to those responsible.
“Countless dangerous thugs have been spared prison due to under-25 sentencing guidelines while a new SNP law will make it even harder for sheriffs to remand criminals in custody.”
Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Scotland continues to be a safe place to live, with recorded crime at one of the lowest levels since 1974 and down 40% since 2006-07.
“Any level of violence is unacceptable, which is why through our Violence Prevention Framework we are working with partners on actions to prevent and divert people away from violence.
“We are, despite difficult circumstances caused by UK Government austerity, investing over £1.4 billion in policing in 2023-24. There are 379 more officers than in 2007 and Scotland continues to have more police officers per capita than England and Wales.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Police Authority said: “Official statistics reporting an increase in recorded crime align with Police Scotland’s reporting to the Authority on a quarterly basis.
“Through our public committees, our Board members have focused their scrutiny on understanding statistical variations and probing Police Scotland’s allocation of resource to meet demands. We will continue to monitor this closely.”