Despite 193 town centre burglaries during 2019 only two suspects charged figures show.
The number of burglaries committed in Eastleigh has skyrocketed compared to last year, according to the most recent crime statistics.
In January 2020 there were 34 burglaries- a 386% increase compared to April 2019 when there was seven.
Meanwhile the Eastleigh Central policing area suffered 85 burglaries during the last quarter of 2019, up 215% since the the second quarter (when the Police adopted new rules for recording crime) and more than both Southampton and Winchester City Centres during the same period.
Although 193 burglaries were committed in Central Eastleigh during 2019, according to Police data, only 2 suspects were charged with the vast majority of cases concluding with ‘no suspect identified’.
Vice-Chair of the Hampshire Police Federation Zoe Wakefield said budget cuts have left Hampshire Police stretched, with figures showing the force has lost 1,000 officers in recent years.
Responding recently to the news that some communities in Hampshire have resorted to patrolling their streets themselves, Zoe Wakefield said in a press release:
“We do understand the frustrations from the community that we can’t respond to and investigate everything that we used to – we can’t give the service we used to be able to give.
We want the public to keep telling us what’s happening, even if we can’t always do something about it.
Old police station boarded up
Some Eastleigh residents have lamented a lack of a permanent police presence in the town, which they say sends the wrong message to would be criminals. The former town centre police station building at Leigh Road, which closed in May last year, now stands empty and boarded up, contributing to a ‘broken window’ effect that offers little active deterrent.
In addition, since last April, a Hampshire County Council policy which has seen residential street lights turned off between 1am and 4am in order to save energy and money has rendered some CCTV cameras useless, making it easier for criminals to enter homes and escape unidentified.
Street lighting petition
Exasperated resident Marley Dalton, who lives in one of four properties burgled on Desborough Road, started a petition to get the lights turned back on after Hampshire Police told her that the suspect could not be identified due to the camera footage being “pitch black”.
The petition currently stands at 564 signatures, and has the support of HCC Councillor for Eastleigh North Daniel Clarke.
Police face ‘extremely challenging envrionment’
In a statement Eastleigh District Commander Darren Miller described the current environment facing his officers as ‘extremely challenging’ and said their priority was to tackle the most serious crimes despite being less well funded than other forces.
But Chief Inspector Miller rejected the idea that the re-location of the police station had impacted negatively on crime in the area:
“We know some people might be concerned that closing the old Eastleigh Police Station has meant that we are not visible or around anymore. We want to dispel that myth. Eastleigh Central Neighbourhood Policing Team are still in the town centre and patrol regularly. Officers are located just up the road in Hathaway Close, so still have the same capability as they did in the old police station”
CI Miller said his officers were working tirelessly to deal with “as much as they can” adding:
“Hampshire Constabulary has lower funding than other forces, with 550 fewer officers than in 2014. We are also seeing the same kind of increase in violence that is happening across the country. That means our priority has to be tackling the most serious crimes.
What we can guarantee is that we will do everything we possibly can, with our partners and with the resources we have got, to protect people and prevent crime.”
In January, 19 out of the 34 burglaries in the town centre were on sheds and garages. Advice on keeping outbuildings safe can be found on the following website: