Crime against SMEs up by 10 per cent
Protect your firm against crime now – that’s the message from insurance firm Axa following a 10% rise in offences against small firms in the last six months.
Research by Axa has revealed a marked increase in ‘recessionary’ crime against SMEs in the second half of last year, with breaking and entering rising by 13%, and malicious damage and arson up by 14% and 23% respectively.
“It’s unsurprising that crime numbers are on the rise in the current economic downturn, and it’s likely that offences will continue to increase during 2009,” said Axa head of property, Gregor Elrick.
“Both malicious damage and arson tend to go up in a recession as premises are left unoccupied and unprotected by failed businesses, making them easier targets for vandals,” he added. “Arson committed by business owners looking to claim on their insurance can also rise in recessionary times.
“A rise in volume of breaking and entering is also typical in a recession, with people turning to crime to make ends meet,” said Elrick.
Axa is advising small firms to take basic steps to deter criminals by installing alarm systems and CCTV and protect themselves against arson by making sure fire extinguishers, sprinklers and fire alarms are regularly maintained.
The Home Office denied that a rise in business crime was inevitable in a recession, and stressed that the police were better equipped than ever before to meet current challenges.
“We continue to work with police to make sure that the small minority of criminals who think they can take advantage in tough times are caught and brought to justice,” said Home Office Minister, Alan Campbell.
For more information about business crime prevention, visit the crimestoppers website’s business & retail section.