Southampton family feeling 'insecure in their own home' after spate of crime against them

  • Video report by Andrew Pate

A family from Southampton say they've been left frightened and frustrated after a spate of crimes against them. 

The latest incidents saw acid thrown over their cars and thousands of pounds worth of bikes stolen from their garage.  

The Niknami family say they feel let down by the Police and don't feel safe in their home.

Hampshire Police said they were "saddened" at how the family felt, but insisted they are doing all they can to help.

  • Incidents make family 'feel insecure'

Arya (L) and Elaheh said they felt officers needed to do more.

The most recent attack happened 10 days ago, when burglars broke into the family's garage and stole £8,000 worth of bikes and scooters.

Arya Niknami had only started a business repairing bikes in his garage during lockdown.

Six months previously, the family's cars were damaged in an acid attack.

This followed Arya's mum being a victim of fraud, where she lost £20,000.

Multiple vehicles were damaged in the attack involving a 'corrosive substance'

Elaheh Davarzarei said that she was "disappointed" by the police response.

"I don't know where to cry for help," she said.

"I've been trying so many times, and each time they've just given me a reference number and a couple of days later they send me a text message for emotional support.

"The first time I fell for it, but I didn't feel better at all after the conversation and I just ignore it. "

Arya said that the latest incident made him "feel insecure in my own home."

"They just came and easily stole the bikes whilst we were in our house and the police didn't do anything.

"If anything this is just encouraging thieves to carry on doing what they're doing, because ...they know they can get away with it and the police are not really gonna do much about it."

The family have contacted Hampshire Police, the Independent Office for Police Conduct and their MP in the hope more can be done to deter thieves.

  • 'We're doing everything we can to bring offenders to justice.'

Police in Southampton told ITV News Meridian that they are doing their best to help the Niknami family.

Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said he was "saddened that anyone feels insecure in their home," but he insisted Hampshire Police are "doing everything that we can to bring offenders to justice on a regular basis."

"I would say on the three occasions that the victim has reported to the police we have provided an appropriate response which is commensurate with the threat that was posed at the time," he said.

  • Handling of the fraud report

Hampshire Police told us that City of London Police, who are national specialists in fraud, were leading on the investigation into the report of fraud.

The force said that officers within the City of London Police look to establish lines of enquiry in the county the report relates too.

It said that "lines of enquiry were followed up and the victim was updated" but "as no lines of enquiry were established in Hampshire, Hampshire Constabulary were not tasked to investigate anything further."

  • Handling of the damage to the family car

Hampshire Police told us they received a report of criminal damage "whereby two cars had been damaged with paint stripper or a similar corrosive substance".

The force said that no lines of enquiry were established to investigate the incident further.

But it added that they "responded to the report by phoning the victim the same day," and officers "visited the victim at their home address to provide reassurance" several days later.

  • Handling of the garage burglary

Hampshire Police said they received a call after 3am on May 31 to a report of a burglary at a garage on Lordswood Gardens "where several thousands of pounds worth of bikes and scooters were reported stolen between 11pm the day before and the time of the call. "

The force said it the report "over the phone to identify lines of enquiry" and officers then "asked the victim to review any private CCTV" which the force would then follow up.

Hampshire Police said that they often ask callers to report crime online if their report is not an emergency.

The force said that this frees up line for those "who need our help immediately or where an offender is on scene or life is at risk."

It said that all online reports are reviewed before being passed on "for deployment or further investigation."

"Where we identify lines of enquiry over the phone, like private CCTV, we will follow this up," the force said.

It added that it has a team of officers dedicated to investigating burglarly called Operation Hawk, and that "reducing the crime that impacts on communities the most" was a priority for neighbourhood policing teams.

The force said that while it continues to focus "crimes that bring the highest harm to our neighbourhoods, such as serious violence, serious sexual offences, domestic abuse and drug related harm," it said it was "absolutely committed to working with communities to reduce incidents of burglary, theft and criminal damage."