Crime in Oxford Street is on the up, a report suggests, but business owners say the area is actually "very safe".

The popular street lined up with bars, pubs and restaurants has been added to the list of "stress areas" put before the city council, alongside places such as Shirley High Street and Portswood Broadway.

It comes after a 12-month police review to identify areas in Southampton where crime was on the rise. 

The police report said: “Oxford Street has had an increase in night time economy offences and so should become a designated zone.”

The general manager of the White Star Tavern in Oxford Street said she did not think the area warranted the label but commended the police for their night time work.

Daily Echo: Bridget Veyze is the general manager of the White Star Tavern in Oxford StreetBridget Veyze is the general manager of the White Star Tavern in Oxford Street (Image: NQ)

Bridget Veyze said: “The police have their reasons, but I feel this street is incredibly safe during the night and evening – that’s why we love it.

“In the last six months there has been a huge increase in local police presence here – we always see loads of bobbies about. You see them all the time.

“Just them being here often stops any trouble before it even starts.”

Bartender, Albion Bushala, works at AVA’s bar and said he was also surprised by the police’s recommendation to the city council.

He said: “We have a maximum capacity of 85 people and a great customer base in Oxford Street which has meant that anti-social behaviour and crimes are vey rare for us.

“Fighting and violence only tends to happen when there is a huge crowd. We are very chilled and don’t have many issues, so I’m surprised the police have done this.”

Daily Echo: Ermal Malka is co-owner of Miss Pita on Oxford StreetErmal Malka is co-owner of Miss Pita on Oxford Street (Image: NQ)

Daily Echo: Miss Pita in Oxford StreetMiss Pita in Oxford Street (Image: Newsquest)

Co-owner of Greek restaurant Miss Pita, Ermal Malka, said: “Sometimes trouble does take place in Oxford Street, but it does not happen every Friday or Saturday – it is much rarer than that.”

When violence does break out, Mr Malka said it tends to be near places that are open later into the night.

He added: “There are always big police vans here making sure nothing happens. We feel very safe having a business here.”