‘Businesses not reporting crime as they have no faith in judiciary’

ISME survey suggests direct costs of crime on Irish SMEs has risen by 136% since start of recession

The survey found 39 per cent of businesses had been impacted by crime in the past 12 months. Photograph: Frank Miller/ Irish Times

The survey found 39 per cent of businesses had been impacted by crime in the past 12 months. Photograph: Frank Miller/ Irish Times

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 12:21

Business owners are not reporting crime because they have no faith that the perpetraters will be apprehended or prosecuted, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme) has claimed.

The group today published the results of a crime survey which showed the direct cost of crime on Irish businesses had rise significantly since the recession.

The survey found the cost of criminal damage or theft on businness had risen by 136 per cent since 2007, and now averaged €9,760 per enterprise per annum.

When added to the cost of security the total cost rises to €14,242, Isme said.

The research found only 5 per cent of small business owners or managers were confident that if they were the victim of a crime that the criminal would be apprehended or prosectued.

An even smaller 3 per cent said they had faith that the judiciary would then act as a deterrent to the criminal against repeat offences.

As a consequence, 18 per cent companies did not report crime to the authorities, with respondents saying it will be seen as too trivial or likely to go unpunished.

The survey found 39 per cent of businesses had been impacted by crime in the past 12 months.

Three quarters of affected businesses experienced more than one incident.

As a result of the survey, Isme has called for increased levels of CCTV surveillance, particularly in town centres, and an increase in the number of gardaí on patrol

The latter could be done by outsourcing administrative duties to the private sector, it said.

The group also wants to see the introduction of a single, national definition for business crime in Ireland to enable these offences to be properly tagged, measured, analysed and ultimately solved by the gardaí.

Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said: “The current business environment is tough enough without owner-managers also having to be concerned with rising crime levels and costs.

“Business crime is a situation that has been allowed to deteriorate over time with little or no Government intervention. The fact that crime against business is not measured separately allows for it to be ‘lumped in’ with other crime and then disregarded,” he added.