One in three Irish businesses has been the victim of crime in the last 12 months.
This is according to a national crime survey, published today, by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), which has more than 10,200 members.
Almost every single business surveyed reported having “little faith” in the legal system.
“This survey clearly shows that there is a total lack of faith in the justice system, as 98% of respondents feel that it is ineffective in dealing with business crime,” said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.
This sentiment is further reflected by the fact that more than one in five crimes go unreported.
The figures from the report also show:
Annually, crime costs a business €6,570 directly.
An average of €5,428 is spent by each business on prevention and security.
Cost of crime to Irish SMEs annually is €1.83bn.
31% of businesses were the victim of a crime in the past 12 months.
45% of SMEs reported experiencing more than one crime against their business.
Other findings from the report show the nature of the crimes against small and medium-sized Irish firms, as well as which sectors suffered the most.
32% of crimes that were reported were in relation to a theft by an outsider.
29% of incidences related to burglary.
27% of the crimes were acts of vandalism.
Retail experienced 45% of all reported crimes.
The construction industry experienced 36% of the crimes that were reported.
Mr Fielding said the Government is not doing enough to combat crimes against businesses in Ireland.
“The reduction of business crime is fundamental to business prosperity and is not being prioritised by Government. The business community has the right to expect that, when found guilty; a perpetrator of crime against business will be dealt with appropriately within the legal system,” he said.
ISME made 11 recommendations as a result of the survey’s findings.
The association wants a definition for business crime to be introduced in Ireland, so that the offence can be properly “tagged” by the gardaí. Another recommendation calls for the sharing of CCTV data among businesses, but in line with data protection legislation.
ISME also recommends that community gardaí are trained in how SMEs operate, and the impact of crime on their businesses.
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