This indicator estimates the proportion of people who have a positive perception of the general crime rate in their local area, as measured by the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey.

Source of Data:

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS)

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) measures crime by interviewing a representative sample of Scotland’s population about their experiences of crime, perceptions of the criminal justice system and services in Scotland. The survey includes crime reported and not reported to the police (and therefore will not be in the crime statistics recorded by the police), providing a more accurate estimate of the extent of victimisation in Scotland of crimes covered by the survey.

The SCJS uses a pre-selected sample which aims to be representative of households in Scotland. In 2021/22, 5,516 interviews (from a target of 6,000) were conducted. During the initial period of fieldwork where coronavirus restrictions were still in place, interviews were conducted remotely, mainly by telephone. Once restrictions were lifted, the survey returned to face-to-face interviews using CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interview). In addition, self-completion was used throughout for sensitive topics – web and paper self-completion options were used before restrictions were lifted, while CASI (Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing) was the main approach used after they were lifted.  

Survey results are estimates produced using weighted analysis of survey data. All results therefore have associated confidence intervals. Some of these are outlined in the SCJS reports, and others can be calculated using the online SCJS users statistical testing tool. Confidence intervals are important for assessing whether apparent changes overtime or differences amongst population sub-groups are statistically significant.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey is designated as National Statistics.

SCJS Main Findings reports, technical notes and data tables are available on the Scottish Government website.


People: respondents to the SCJS, a representative sample of the adult Scottish population (aged 16+). The question is only asked of adults who have lived in their local area for two or more years at the time of interview (n=4,920).

Local area: within 15 minutes’ walk of the respondent's house

Positive perception: where people believe that crime had ‘stayed the same’ or ‘reduced’ in the past 2 years

General crime: the SCJS question used for measurement asks about ‘crime in general’

Criteria for Change:

The criteria for change will vary every year, as the most recent results are compared against the previous year.

This evaluation is based on the results presented in the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) Main Findings report.

A calculation is performed to detect statistically significant change using the SCJS estimates and their sample sizes. A test statistic determines the magnitude of change necessary to see a statistically significant result, and this is compared against the absolute difference seen between the estimates for the current and previous year.

The evaluation this year (2021/22) is based on: 

  • any change within +/-2.1 percentage points on the previous survey’s (2019/20) figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change
  • an increase of 2.1 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving
  • a decrease of 2.1 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening
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