More than 1,200 violent and sexual crimes were reported in Southampton in one month – and hundreds remain under investigation.

The latest police data reveals that in January alone, a total of 1,226 crimes of a violent or sexual nature were reported to Hampshire Constabulary.

These crimes range from street-level harassment and stalking to offences such as assault, drug-related harm, sexual assaults, and rape.

Concerns, particularly surrounding women’s safety, have been in the spotlight in recent weeks.

This comes after a woman was raped in Palmerston Park in February, and another woman was sexually assaulted in Hoglands Park earlier this month.

And in December, a man stabbed a university student in Hoglands Park in a bid to be deported. He has since been jailed.

'Shocking but not surprising' 

Police chiefs have vowed to crack down on these crimes, with special operations launched to keep people safe in the city at night.

But students say there is still ‘a great deal of work to be done.’

Daily Echo: Stefania DavidStefania David (Image: Solent Students’ Union)

Stefania David, vice president of education at Solent Students’ Union, said: “The statistics reported to Hampshire Constabulary are shocking, but they are not surprising.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done to reduce the number of offences in the area by those with a responsibility of keeping the public safe in Southampton.

“We understand that no city or town will ever be completely safe, but there are ways those responsible for the public’s safety, both during the day and in the evening, can reduce the number of offences committed and improve the safety in the area.

“Ideally, this would involve more funding towards education and prevention, increasing lighting and police presence in public spaces where offences are highest, firmer policies around tackling spiking and sexual assaults within nightlife venues, and continued efforts to raise awareness on the reoccurring themes within the data reported to Hampshire Constabulary.”

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She added: “As a Students’ Union, student safety is one of our top priorities.

“We are in regular conversation with leading groups and organisations in the area to ensure student voices are being represented within the community around their safety.

“However, we urge those who are accountable for the public’s safety to focus more on prevent incidents happening again and again.”

The data

The data on the map is only a handful of the reported cases in January 2023.

Data from shows that of the 1,226 violent or sexual crimes reported to police in Southampton in January, 824 remain under investigation.

There has been no prosecution of a suspect in 271 cases. Some 117 investigations have been completed with no suspect identified.

This is a jump in the number of these crimes reported to the force the previous month.

In December 2022, 1,134 crimes of a violent or sexual nature were reported.

Of these, 486 remain under investigation while officers were unable to prosecute 422 suspects.

A total of 153 were marked as ‘investigation completed, no suspect identified.’ However, the January 2023 figures showed a slight decrease in reported crimes from the previous year.

In January 2022, 1,284 crimes relating to violence or sex were reported.

But 785 of these resulted in the suspect not being prosecuted.

'Fully committed to tackling these issues'

Daily Echo: Chief inspector Marcus Kennedy Chief inspector Marcus Kennedy (Image: Newsquest)

Chief Inspector Marcus Kennedy from Hampshire Police said the force will "work tirelessly to bring those responsible for causing untold misery on our streets, and in our communities, to justice".

He said: “We appreciate that the figures indicating the volume of violent and sexual offences in Southampton in January earlier this year may be concerning for some residents.

“I want to reassure you that we are fully committed to tackling these issues, and whilst we may not be able to eradicate them completely, we are taking a robust approach to doing so.

“Whilst we cannot categorically state the full reasons behind these increases, a rise in recorded crime can show that the public have greater confidence in coming forward to speak to us, and we welcome that."

He added: “I can tell you that the two sexual assaults that occurred in city centre earlier this year have resulted in suspects being identified quickly, charged and remanded into custody."

How is this being tackled? 

But what is the force’s approach to keeping people in Southampton safe?

The answer? Specially targeted operations.

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Chief Inspector Kennedy said: “In Southampton, we have launched operations to keep people safe in our night-time economy, involving dedicated patrols and work with other agencies, including the councils, the Violent Crime Reduction Units and security and staff at all of our licensed premises.

“This has included working in partnership with proprietors of pubs, bars and late-night venues and making sure that they are implementing processes to ensure members of the public are safe at night and are able to identify suspicious and offending behaviour.

“We do Operation Defender, which is where on the weekends, officers go up and get briefed about where to go and where to patrol.

“Part of their briefing is violence against women and girls.

“If you go back ten years ago, all I was looking for was those potential incidents that might turn into a fight.

“Now officers are trained to look for potential perpetrators who may be out being predatory males, looking for vulnerable individuals.”

Those who might be feeling vulnerable in the community can use a service called StreetSafe – a tool for anyone to use to anonymously tell police about public places.

Chief Inspector Kennedy is urging people, especially women and girls, to use the tool.

He said: “Simply put, making Southampton a safe place for all, is not just down to policing, it is a collective effort by us, our partners and our communities.

“I want to make the city a no-go-zone for those who have criminal intent towards women and girls. I don’t apologise for that.”

For support contact Southampton charity Yellow Door's helpline on 023 8063 6313.

Alternatively call the Treetops Sexual Assault Referral Centre run by Solent NHS Trust on 0300 123 6616.