Sixty cases of homicide were recorded in Scotland in 2018-19 – the third lowest number for a 12-month period since 1976.
Only in 2015-16 and 2017-18 – when 59 cases were recorded – has the number of homicides been lower.
But Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has vowed every effort will be made to reduce the number of homicides even further by tackling violent crime.
The number of homicide cases in Scotland has remained relatively stable in recent years, with between 59 and 63 cases recorded each year since 2012-13.
Over the ten-year period from 2009-10 to 2018-19, the number of homicide cases in Scotland fell by 25 per cent from 80 to 60.
Mr Yousaf said: “While the number of homicides in Scotland is significantly lower than a decade ago – in line with the overall fall in crime – any death is one too many.
“Behind these figures are grieving families and friends and my sincere sympathies go out to all those who have lost a loved one.
“We are working to ensure that victims’ interests are at the heart of our criminal justice system and we recognise the enormous trauma experienced by families bereaved by murder and culpable homicide.
“As part of more than £18 million invested annually to improve support, advice and information for all victims of crime, we have funded Victim Support Scotland to deliver a free and confidential new caseworker support service for families bereaved by crime.
“We are determined to help people break free from cycles of violence.
“We will continue our efforts to drive down violent crime, both through education and enforcement, supporting prevention work with people of all ages and ensuring Scotland’s law enforcement agencies and courts have the resources to deal with those who harm others.”
In the 60 cases in 2018-19, 61 victims of homicide were recorded. Of the 61 victims, 46 were male (75 per cent).
Eighty three people were accused of homicide in 2018-19, and 73 of them were male (88 per cent).
Of the 60 recorded cases of homicide, 57 were solved and three currently remain unsolved.
For each of the last ten years, the most common method of killing was with a ‘sharp instrument’, which includes knives, broken bottles, swords, sharpened screwdrivers and any other pointed or edged weapons.
In 2018-19, a sharp instrument was the main method of killing for 27 of homicide victims (44 per cent).