Crime down in the Lothians and Borders
Crime has fallen within the Lothians and Scottish Borders, while the country continues to address the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Police Scotland has issued its Q3 Management Information data for the period of April 1, to December 31, 2020, which shows that overall crime has reduced by 581 incidents, compared to the same period of the previous year.
During this time, there have been no murders recorded within the division, following the two, which occurred during the same period of 2019/20.
The coronavirus restrictions that have been in place over the past year have seen large numbers of the division’s population staying at home and this has likely attributed to the reduction in domestic housebreaking incidents occurring, with 135 fewer offences reported.
However, there has also been a fall in the number of housebreakings taking place at businesses, sheds, garages and outbuildings.
Overall, all housebreakings, including attempted housebreakings have decreased by 178 incidents.
The division continues to tackle all forms of domestic abuse and target perpetrators of these offences. This has resulted in an increase in the detection rate, while a rise in domestic abuse crimes has been observed.
In total, 423 further domestic offences have been recorded, as well as additional 29 offences under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018.
Extensive work has been carried out by the Lothians and Scottish Borders Public Protection Unit to tackle sexual crime and this has seen a four percentage point increase in detections for overall sexual offences.
There have also been 44 fewer rapes and attempted rapes being reported. However, there has been 16 more incidents of taking, distributing and possession of indecent images of children, while the number of incidents of communicating indecently has also doubled.
Road Policing Officers are continually patrolling routes around the division and this focus has seen a two percentage point increase in detection rates for overall motoring offences.
While 42 more dangerous driving offences have been recorded, compared with last year, there has been a small but positive reduction in the number of drink-driving and speeding incidents occurring.
The total number of casualties on the division’s roads have also fallen from 615, to 347.
Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, said: “While it is too early to full understand the impact of coronavirus on crime levels, I am encouraged by the overall fall in crime within the division and I thank my officers for their continued efforts.
“Police Scotland is always here to help the public who we serve and within the Lothians and Scottish Borders, our communities can rest assured that we are available whenever we’re needed.
“The vital work of our PPU has seen an increase in detections for sexual offences, however online crime continues to increase such as taking, distributing and possession of indecent images of children and communicating indecently.
"In addition it is noted reported crimes of rape have decreased, however it is recognised that this is an under reported crime type and our specially trained officers continue to work with partner agencies to ensure support is provided to all who wish to report crimes of a sexual nature.
“As DCC Taylor has said, we must continue to enhance our specialist capacity and capability to protect the people of Scotland from threat, harm and risk in the public, private and virtual spaces.
“I am also cautiously optimistic with our reduction in road casualties and the slight fall in those drink-driving and speeding.
"Nevertheless, one incident of drink-driving is one too many and I continued to urge motorists never to get behind the wheel while under the influence.”