Over the March 2019 and March 2020, drug, sexual offences and domestic violence, modern slavery and cruelty to children have mostly risen over the course of a given period. This data was presented by Southampton City Council show, but also a violent crime, drugs related crime and hate crime also went up, although arson and burglary went down.
Also, it has been highlighted by the city leader the given data also means the public’s confidence in reporting incidents to the police, although the data have been described as “highly concerning”.
The report has revealed an increase:
- Drug offences went up by 37.4%
- Drug affected crime (+20.1%)
- Sexual offences, particularly rape (+13.7%)
- Domestic violent crime (+ 9.7%).
- Modern slavery (+16.1%)
- Cruelty to children (+14.4%).
Assessing the documents, the numbers for these offences are “relatively small and percentage changes should therefore be interpreted with caution”.
Anti-social behaviour offences also went up from 7,765 cases in 2018/19 to 7,881 in 2019/20.
- Most Serious Violence (-3.5%)
- Arson (-35.6%),
- Residential burglary (-12.1%)
- Offences where a bladed implement was used (-4.4%).
Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said: “An increase in recorded crime in Southampton is highly concerning. The Government remains committed to tackling the sources of serious crime and bringing offenders to justice.”
Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, said: “It’s also the case that crime has risen in line with government cuts to key services and these services need to be properly funded alongside adding more police officers.”
In general, between 2019 and 2020 crimes in Southampton went up by 1.5%, the same increase recorded across the Hampshire Constabulary area. While crime in England has increased by 1.4% but in Portsmouth, it had gone down by 1.5%.
City bosses said that over the last three years the trend in crime rates in Southampton has remained “relatively flat compared to previous years”.
Members of Southampton Safe City Partnership, civic chiefs and police bosses, promised to continue tackling crimes across the city through a number of initiatives.
Superintendent Kelly Whiting, from Hampshire Constabulary, said: “It is important that we put any increases in recorded crime into context and also remind people that increases in crime types should not necessarily be viewed as a negative because it can mean that there is an increase in public confidence who report incidents to the police.”
“Drug related harm is one of our district priorities and the increase in the spike in these figures have come as a direct result of our additional work in this area. In the coming year, we will be focussing on areas of deprivation where domestic abuse and violent crime are significantly more prevalent.”
The report did not include the impact of Covid.
But Councillor Dave Shields, cabinet member for stronger communities and chair of Southampton Safe City Partnership, said: “While it is too early to gauge how much impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on crime it’s clear that violent crime, sexual offences and domestic crimes are priorities for the Partnership to focus on. This year’s Strategic Assessment highlights the progress we are making in some areas, but also helps us prioritise issues that require greater focus to help reduce and tackle crime in Southampton.”
The Home Office said police across the country are set to receive millions of pounds over the next year.