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Rising crime costs Irish firms E1.5bn

Monday, August 11 11:43:43

The cost to Irish small and medium sized businesses is rising with firms having to pay up to E1.5bn a year, according to ISME's latest National Crime Survey today.

The direct cost of crime has risen dramatically since the start of the recession (+136pc), now averaging E9,760 per enterprise per annum, it found.

When added to the cost of security the total cost rises to E14,242 per business.

According to ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, 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 said.

"There is a lack of confidence amongst owner managers in the justice system. Only 5pc of small business owners surveyed had confidence that if they were a victim of crime, the criminal would be apprehended. An even smaller 3pc had faith that the judiciary would then act as a deterrent to the criminal against repeat offences. As a consequence a significant number of companies (18pc) do not report crime to the authorities. They believe it will be seen as 'too trivial' or likely to go unpunished."

He said that business crime should be taken more seriously by the relevant authorities and must be investigated and penalised accordingly to restore confidence in the justice system.

"At an annual cost of approximately E1.5bn it is fair to say that this problem is doing extensive damage to the economy and hindering job creation."

"Tougher sentencing, more CCTV cameras and a more visible Garda presence are all much needed measures but calls for these basic initiatives appear to be falling on deaf ears. A much tougher stance is needed in relation to business crime and its perpetrators. SME owner-managers are working long hours on tight profit margins in order to ensure that their businesses survive and losses due to criminal activity can often be the final straw."

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