Rise in Crime Against Business
New figures show a 10% increase in crimes committed against businesses in 2008, and an 18% rise in the cost of business crime.
The figures, collected by AXA Insurance for its annual Business Crime Index, show robberies and hold–ups in businesses up 33.3% from January to June this year compared to the same period in 2007. Arson rose 18.7%, while the most common crime committed against businesses, breaking and entering, increased by 14.9%.
Doug Barnett, head of customer–risk management, warned:
“The increase in business crime is likely to get worse as the economic downturn continues, particularly where prices for certain goods are increasing.”
The report also shows that crime costs have soared – the cost of a forcible and violent entry, up 9% in frequency, rose nearly 90% in a year to an average of £6,187. The average crime claim settlement reached £4,575, an increase of 7.5%. One attack of vandalism now costs a shop, office or other premises an average of £2,144.
The figures also show the highest incidence of business crime taking place in cities. In terms of business claims as a proportion of all claims, the UK crime capital of 2008 was Derby, at 23.9%, followed by Nottingham at 23.1% and Birmingham at 22.9%. London had the lowest proportion of crime related claims in the first half of this year (14.3%), just ahead of Glasgow (16.5%). Croydon and Northampton are crime hotspots, with crime rates doubling in both areas.
In the light of the worsening economy, Barnett advised small businesses to take daily steps to prevent crime.
“For example, if you’re vulnerable to arson or vandalism, think what you do with your rubbish and when it goes out. Don’t put it out the night before it is collected, or at least put it away from your premises.”
“Go for the simple steps first,” he concluded, adding that all businesses should plan what they should do if the worst happens.
Read a guide to security and crime prevention for small firms on the Business Link website