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Alcohol blamed for rise in violent crime

Published:  23 July, 2008

SCOTLAND: Violent crime has risen 40% in a year, new figures show.

The majority of the increase was due to a rise in "minor' assaults carried out by people under the influence of alcohol.

The 2006 Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey found an overall increase of 13% in crime between April 2005 and March 2006, with violent crimes - including robbery and serious and minor assaults - rising 40%.

The report found 67% of victims said their attackers were under the influence of alcohol.

The survey, which questioned around 5000 people across Scotland, found one in five people had been the victim of at least one household or personal crime in the 12 months between April 2005 and March 2006.

Crimes against households - specifically housebreaking and theft from motor vehicles - fell but crimes against a person rose, mainly driven by minor assaults.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "The public's clear concerns with alcohol, drugs and crime back my belief that we need to be tough on crime and even tougher on the causes of crime if we are to reduce the fear of crime.

"If we are serious about building safer, stronger communities for the long term, then we must address the social factors that contribute to crime - chiefly drink, drugs and deprivation."

MacAskill highlighted proposals to crack down hard on those who sell or supply to underage drinkers and to curb irresponsible promotions and discounts of alcohol.