Half of small businesses experience crime but many don’t report it

A new report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that a large proportion of smaller businesses fail to report crimes because they do not believe that doing so would lead to a successful prosecution.

More than a third (38%) of businesses surveyed said they had not reported crimes, which the FSB claims could call the accuracy of current crime statistics into question. Almost a quarter (24%) of small business owners said they never report crimes against their businesses. When asked why not, 46% of those who never report crimes said they did not feel it would achieve anything positive.

A third of small businesses thought that crime was getting worse in their area. According to the FSB this, coupled with the fact that many did not report crimes, means that a recent Government survey suggesting that crimes against businesses were decreasing might not reflect the reality of the situation.

Two thirds (66%) of respondents said they had been a victim of cyber-crimes at some point over the past two years. Almost half (48%) had experienced non-cyber-crime and 53% of small businesses had been the victim of both.

Those that were the victims of crime tended to be targeted multiple times. Those affected by cyber-crime had been victims an average of four times each and those affected by non-cyber-crime were hit an average of three times each.

With each crime costing an average of £5,898 and with some having the potential to cost far more, falling victim to crime could see some businesses facing serious financial problems and even insolvency.

Many businesses are taking steps to improve their security however. More than four in ten had either installed or upgraded security systems in order to protect their business from traditional or physical crimes. Some 80% of smaller firms said they protected their IT systems with security software and only 3% said they had no cyber-security measures at all in place.

By Phil Smith

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