Hundreds of criminals were warned by police during lockdown that their lives were in danger.
Detectives visited their homes and informed gangland figures in person about the death threats from rivals.
Police Scotland figures released last week show a total of 365 alerts were issued in 2020 – the highest in four years.
Of that total, 17 were Osman Warnings, where police believed there was an immediate risk to their lives, while 161 were given “Personal Safety Advice Notices” and told they may be attacked by other gang members.
Many were generated by the 20-year Glasgow turf war between the Lyons and Daniel crime clans.
Former head of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency Graeme Pearson said the notices are a useful way to disrupt the daily activities of criminals.
He believes the increase may also be down to the recent success in hacking into encrypted phone systems.
This has resulted in criminals turning on each other because they believe they have been “grassed” to the police.
Pearson added: “I believe that has played a significant part in why there has been a rise in warnings.
“It has also given the police a reason to be at a criminal’s home and speak with them.
“The last thing that they want is being identified by the police and that undermines their confidence.”
Pearson also believes the rising influence of organised crime groups from Eastern Europe and Asia has added to the number of alerts issued across Scotland.
Last year police also issued 186 “Threat to Life Disruption Notices”, where the gangsters are warned against carrying out attacks against rivals. It is almost three times the figure for 2017.
Notices can be issued if cops know of planned acts of violence but don’t have evidence to make the arrests.
Police also have a legal requirement to tell someone if an attack is being planned against them.
Crime boss Steven Lyons, 40, fled to Spain in 2006 after being shot in Glasgow. Several Lyons gang members were jailed for a total of 104 years at the High Court in Glasgow in 2019 over plans to assassinate their rivals.
One intended victim was Steven “Bonzo” Daniel, the nephew of the late Glasgow crime boss Jamie Daniel.
Since 2017 more than 20 members of the rival Daniel and Lyons families have been warned that their lives are at risk.
A police source said: “Lockdown has made it easier to track down people involved in organised crime.
"The message is that the police are in charge and violence won’t be tolerated.”