According to new figures released in November 2018 by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, the number of homicides committed in Scotland in the period 2017-18 has decreased by 5% when compared to the previous year. 59 murders were committed in the whole country this year, which is a significant decrease from 2016-17’s figure of 62 murders.
This figure is representative of a wider trend of decreasing murders and other kinds of violent crime in Scotland in the last decade. The Chief Statistician stated that in the last 10 years, between 2008 and 2018, the number of murders in Scotland has fallen by a remarkable 39%.
Some might consider this astonishing improvement in crime figures to be the result of Police Scotland’s practice of ‘stop and search,’ which was used extremely liberally throughout the 2000s in an effort to prevent knife crime. However, the police amended their practices in 2017, after coming under criticism for searching children without any convincing evidence of wrongdoing.
Instead, one can look to the work of the Violence Reduction Unit for a fuller explanation of why the number of homicides has decreased so drastically. The Unit began in Glasgow but now works across the country, treating violent crime as a public health issue. It runs educational programmes and offers those who have been involved in gang-related violent crime the opportunity to leave the lifestyle. The Unit has been praised throughout the UK for driving down Scotland’s violent crime rate.
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