Police Scotland records 29 per cent drop in reported crime in April
However, the statistics, which compare this April to the same month last year, suggest an increase in some types of crime, including fraud.
A total of 17,171 crimes were reported, an 18 per cent reduction – or 3823 fewer crimes – compared to the 20,994 crimes recorded in April 2019.
Non-sexual crimes of violence fell by 14 per cent, with a 13 per cent decrease in crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse Act 2018.
Recorded sexual crimes were 26 per cent lower, prompted by a drop in offences of sexual assault (down by 46 per cent) and rape and attempted rape (down by 27 per cent).
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “The figures show some changes to the demands on policing but it will undoubtedly take months, or even years, before we understand the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic on crime levels in Scotland.
“Our officers will continue to pursue fraudsters who set out to cause harm and misery to our communities.
“I know that private and virtual spaces are not safe places for some people and the current restrictions may expose them to a greater risk of abuse, harm and neglect.
“Police Scotland will always pursue reports of domestic abuse or sexual crime whenever they occur and will continue to support those who feel vulnerable in our communities, particularly during this challenging time.
“Police Scotland is here to help 24 hours a day and if you need our support or intervention, please contact us.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed the figures but sounded a note of caution.
He said: “While many types of crime have fallen in recent months, we know that some people have been using lockdown as a chance to commit offences, notably fraud – including targeting some of our most vulnerable citizens and exploiting businesses.
“We must remain vigilant to such criminals and also to the risks of harm against those who may be living in fear of abuse in their own homes.
“My message to anyone experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence is clear: while you may feel vulnerable and unseen, you are not alone. Help is still available.“
Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse Helpline is available on 0800 027 1234.
Offences recorded in April fell by 29 per cent, with common assault down 24 per cent, breach of the peace down 11 per cent and vehicle offences down 42 per cent.