The results of the small employers’ group National Crime Survey found that crime cost businesses €1.5bn last year and owners were losing faith in the judiciary in the fight against crime.
The survey found that the direct costs of crime have risen 136pc since the start of the recession, resulting in an average cost of €9,760 to each business. When the cost of security is included the tally rises to €14,242.
Four out of 10 companies surveyed said they had been affected by crime in the past year, and most were repeat victims.
“The current business environment is tough enough without owner-managers also having to be concerned with rising crime levels and costs,” said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.
“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 said.
Just 5pc of small business owners believe someone who commits a crime against their company is likely to be caught, according to the research.
A significant number of companies (18pc) do not report crime to the authorities, believing it will be seen as ‘too trivial’ or likely to go unpunished by authorities.
ISME called for the national crime statistics to include a breakdown of crimes against business.
“Business crime must be taken more seriously by the relevant authorities and must be investigated and penalised accordingly in order to restore confidence in the justice system.
“At an annual cost of approximately €1.5bn it is fair to say that this problem is doing extensive damage to the economy and hindering job creation,” ISME said
More CCTV and gardai on the beat should be deployed nationally, it said. ISME also wants to see a ‘Mind your Business’ website established, which would outline best practice for crime prevention.
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