Covid Scotland: Cybercrime Reports Double During Pandemic


THE number of reported cyber crimes in Scotland nearly doubled during the pandemic, new statistics have revealed.

An estimated 14,130 crimes fall under the cybercrime category recorded by Police Scotland in 2020-2021 – a staggering 95% increase from the estimated 7,240 reported in 2019-20.

The shocking increase in agent-recorded cybercrimes came as recorded crimes declined in four key areas; non-sexual violent crimes, sex crimes, dishonesty crimes, arson and vandalism.

The release of national statistics, released Tuesday, said the increase in cybercrime was likely due to the “significant impact” of the pandemic, and stay-at-home orders and lockdowns imposed across the country limiting contact social in person.

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He also suggested that the increase in fraud and computer misuse could be due to “perpetrators taking advantage of behavioral changes during the pandemic, such as the increase in online shopping.”

The report also shows a marked increase in offenses recorded as “other sex crimes” – which include possession and distribution of indecent photos of children, indecent communication and disclosure or threat to disclose an intimate image. It should be noted, however, that this category also records non-cybercrime offenses such as indecent assault.

Other sex crimes now account for 50% of all reported sexual offenses in Scotland, according to the latest figures.

The report estimates that cybercrimes account for 6% of crimes recorded by the police in 2020-2021, up from 3% in 2019-20.

Cybercrimes now account for around one in three (33%) sexual crimes in 2020-2021, up from around a quarter (24%) in 2019-20.

The report also suggests that 12% of non-sexual violent crimes are now estimated as cybercrimes, alongside 10% of dishonesty crimes.

The numbers can only be used as estimates, as the report clarified that not all types of crimes with a cyber element may have been captured during the scan.

However, for the first time, Scottish police have recorded reports that the perpetrator of the cybercrime is in another country. Most of the reports in this regard concerned fraud, resulting in the recording of 1160 additional crimes.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said, “The nature of crime is changing, with the online space becoming a more important part of frontline policing every day. In addition to ensuring the safety of people on the streets, our agents and staff keep people safe on their computers and smartphones in all communities in Scotland.

“As part of our ambitious cyber strategy, we are adapting the way we work to enable us to better respond to increasing online crime and to ensure that we are well equipped to meet modern challenges. This includes working in partnership with national and international partners to combat this growing threat.

The LibDems said the numbers show the need for a “21st century police force.”

LibDem Justice spokesperson Liam McArthur said: “In a society where the click of a button can move markets, take control of personal computers or empty bank accounts, we need to have the strength to police who are one step ahead of those who want to abuse our technologies. .

“Senior police officers have warned in the past that the national force is struggling to tackle online crime.

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“The Justice Secretary must work with Police Scotland to understand the changing scale of the problem and assess the resources that may be needed to address it.”

However, while cybercrime is on the rise, there has been a slight decrease in four other key areas.

Non-sexual violent crimes decreased 4%, from 9,316 to 8,972, and sex crimes decreased 2%, from 13,364 to 13,131.

Dishonesty crimes fell 19%, from 111,409 to 89,731, the lowest level since 1971, while fires and vandalism fell 10%, from 47,731 to 42,964, the highest level. lowest since 1975.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown (pictured) said: ‘These statistics show how crime in areas like vandalism and dishonesty, the types of crime that affect people’s daily lives, has declined – to unprecedented levels since the 1970s.

‘There is still work to be done, as the figures on cybercrime show – which is why this year we released a Prevention, Awareness and Enforcement Strategy to make Scotland an inhospitable place for crooks .

“And while Covid-19 has undoubtedly had an impact on the numbers, recorded crime was previously on a downward trend and thanks to the measures we recently announced in our agenda for the government – we will continue to make Scotland a safe place to live. ”

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