Police recorded crime figures include notifiable offences that have been reported to and recorded by the police. Therefore, police recorded crime does not capture all crimes that occur, with some types of crimes more likely to be underreported than others. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggests that of all comparable crimes in the CSEW and police recorded crime, only 41% of crimes were reported to the police in the most recent year.
There were 31,890 recorded crimes in Southampton between April 2018 and the end of March 2019. This was a 1.0% increase over the previous year and compares to a 5.7% increase in England and a 2.3% increase recorded from 2016/17 to 2017/18. The rise in recorded crime in 2018/19 is likely to reflect, at least in part, a true increase in crime levels, as well as improvements in crime data recording since 2014/15. Although total crime has increased in Southampton, there are variations by crime type, with some crimes experiencing more of an increase than others. There have been notable increases in:
- Serious knife crime (17.2%)
- Domestic violent crime (15.0%)
- Violent crime (7.6%)
- Residential burglary (7.5%)
Crime distribution within the city
Studies have consistently found strong links between risk factors such as poverty and crime. Poverty alone does not cause criminal behaviour or victimisation but generates material and social conditions that mean that people living in poorer neighbourhoods are generally more likely to be the victims and/or the perpetrators of crime. Therefore, as poverty and other risk factors vary across the city, so will the frequency and relative severity of crime.
The crime rate in Southampton varies considerably by electoral ward. Bevois and Bargate ward have the highest rate of offences per resident head of population. These central wards have large shopping areas and high numbers of night time economy venues, which are associated with particular crime types and crimes affected by alcohol. Bassett and Sholing wards have the lowest rate of offences, with these wards containing some of the most affluent neighbourhoods in the city. More information can be found in the deprivation and poverty page.
What do residents say?
Feelings of safety in the community are important, as residents should be able to go about their daily activities without fear of crime or harm.
The Southampton Community Safety Survey was carried out by Southampton City Council in July 2019 to elicit the views of people living, studying and working in the city on community safety issues. More than half of people who responded to the Survey in 2019 felt crime had increased or significantly increased in the last 12 months (53%). Only 4% felt that it had decreased. Problems relating to anti-social behaviour continue to be perceived as the biggest issues for Southampton residents.
Survey respondents were asked about their overall feeling of safety in their local area within Southampton. In 2019, 82% of respondents felt either fairly safe or very safe during the day. This is an improvement compared with 76% in 2017. After dark, 40% felt safe or fairly safe in their local area. Local Government Association data shows that nationally 94% of people feel safe outside in their local area during the day, while 76% feel safe after dark.
23% of respondents to the 2019 Survey agreed that the police and other local public services were successfully dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour in the local area. This is an increase from 17% in the 2017 survey but lower than the figure from the 2015 survey when nearly 35% agreed that the police and local authority were successfully dealing with crime and antisocial behaviour.
The full report, summary slide set and a data compendium are available below. For more information on crime in Southampton, see the Safe City Strategic Assessment page.
Southampton Safe City Strategic Assessment 2018/19 (full)
The Southampton Safe City Strategic Assessment provides an overview of current and future crime, disorder and community safety issues affecting Southampton and makes recommendations to enable the Partnership to focus the Safe City Strategy and local delivery plans. The 2018/19 Strategic Assessment will provide the evidence base to inform the new Safe City Strategy which will run from March 2020. The full report, summary slide set and the data compendiums that informed the assessment are available below to download.
Southampton Safe City Strategic Assessment 2018/19
Safe City Strategic Assessment presentation 2018/19
Community Safety Crime - 2018/19
Community Safety Offenders and Victims - 18/19
Community Safety Perceptions of Crime - 2018/19
Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2019