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How many small businesses have been victims of crime?

Small Firms Association says the cost and rate of crime against business is on the rise.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

NEARLY HALF OF small businesses have experienced an increase in crime over the last two years, a new survey by the Small Firms Association has found.

The survey of business owners also shows that 49 per cent of respondents were the victims of crime on three or more occasions.

The costs of security measures are also on the rise, with businesses spending €260 million on the maintenance alone of security systems every year to try and keep their premises safe.

This is the thin end of the wedge for many businesses, with the average capital expenditure on security measures €6,049 per business, or €1.2 billion every year on a national basis.

SFA assistant director Avine McNally said that the problem is a constant thorn in the side for business people.

“The business community is under constant attack from planned professional criminality. There is an enormous psychological price being paid by business people as crime is now more organised, more professional, more ruthless and more pervasive.”

The financial hit of falling victim to criminal behaviour averaged out at €8,728, and covered a range from €80 to €200,000.

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Over the last two years small firms have also increasingly become the victims of scams, identity fraud, phishing and data theft. A total of 18 per cent of respondents were victims of scams.

McNally said: “In addition to the obvious costs, there are many hidden costs, including lost production, administrative costs associated with crime investigation, absenteeism, stress, loss of preises, degeneration of business areas, closures and job losses.

The SFA criticised low conviction rates for crimes against businesses, and called for current laws on the statute book to be enforced more rigorously.

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About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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