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.
Data included in the 2021 Strategic Assessment relates to the period April 2020 to March 2021 and therefore will be significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus. Trends and changes in patterns over the last year should be interpreted in light of this. It is expected that during the 2021/22 financial year there will be a return to pre-covid police recorded crime levels for many crime types, both locally and nationally.
There were 28,239 police recorded crimes in Southampton during 2020/21, which is a decline of -11.4% compared to 2019/20. This decline is in line with local and national trends, with England experiencing a -14.4% decline and Hampshire Constabulary a -12.9% decline during the same period.
The change in total recorded crime over the last year is likely to reflect a genuine decline, with this decline attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and government instructions to limit social contact. However, it is important to highlight that changes in the volume of crimes vary across different crime groups, with domestic related crimes increasing over the last year, both locally and nationally. Additionally, police recorded crime only includes those crimes that have been reported to and recorded by the police, with ‘hidden’ crimes such as domestic abuse far more likely to be underreported than other offences such as theft.
A crime prioritisation scoring exercise highlighted the following crime groups as a priority for the Partnership:
- Violent crime
- Domestic crimes including domestic violent crime
- Sexual offences, particularly rape
- Residential burglary
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 wards have the highest rate of crimes per resident 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 from 27 August 2021 to 27 September 2021 to elicit the views of people living, studying and working in the city on community safety issues.
Just under half of people who responded to the Survey in 2021 felt crime had increased in the last 12 months (48%), with only 6% of respondents feeling it had declined. Over a quarter (29%) of respondents reported being a victim of crime or anti-social behaviour in Southampton during the last 12 months. 26% of respondents to the 2021 Survey agreed that the police and other local public services were successfully dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour in the local area.
Survey respondents were asked about their overall feelings of safety in their local area and the city centre. The majority of respondents in the 2021 survey felt safe during the day in their local area (84% felt safe) and in the city centre (77% felt safe). Respondents felt less safe after dark, particularly in the city centre; two fifths (41%) of respondents felt safe after dark in their local area compared to less than a third (27%) feeling safe after dark in the city centre.
A summary report and slide set produced as part of the 2020/21 Strategic Assessment are available to download below. For more information on crime in Southampton, see the Safe City Strategic Assessment page.
2020/21 Safe City Strategic Assessment
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 slide set and report that informed the assessment are available below to download.
Safe City Strategic Assessment Report (2020/21)
Safe City Strategic Assessment Presentation (2020/21)
Analysis of need across Southampton neighbourhoods
This work highlights need and inequalities among Southampton neighbourhoods across a number of key theme areas, including demography, children’s social care, youth crime and violence, healthy start, child health and need, adult health and need, education and poverty and deprivation.
Analysis of need across Southampton neighbourhoods
2019/20 Safe City Strategic Assessment
Safe City Strategic Assessment (2019/20)
This section contains archived reports from previous Safe City Strategic Assessments. For the latest report and data on crime and community safety in the city, see the Safe City Strategic Assessment above.
Safe City Strategic Assessment (2018/19)
Safe City Strategic Assessment (2017/18)
Safe City Strategic Assessment (2016/17)
Safe City Strategic Assessment (2015/16)
Safe City Strategic Assessment (2014/15)
Office for National Statistics - Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2021