While that percentage is actually smaller than the figure of 33% for 2009, ISME found the cost of criminal activity against business had actually increased by 24% in the last year.
The report went on to suggest that when the cost of security is included, the direct price of crime to business now stands at €1.35 billion annually.
Of those businesses which were victims, 32% experienced theft by outsiders, 30% experienced vandalism and 28% experienced burglary.
The ISME survey found that of those affected, 67% were the victims of crime on more than one occasion. It also found that 14% of respondents were the victims of theft by their own staff.
The biggest percentage of crime took place in Dublin county (36%) followed by Connaught (30%), Dublin city (29%), Munster (26%) and Leinster (25%).
The retail sector was the area of the business community most affected, with a significant 52% of companies experiencing some form of crime in the last year, followed by distribution (34%) and manufacturing (27%).
Of those who reported incidents to the gardaí, 71% felt that the issue was dealt with adequately or effectively, while 29% were dissatisfied with the response.
Of those who did not report the incident, 38% blamed a lack of faith that the perpetrator would be charged while a further 38% said there was a perception that the crime was too trivial. “Crime against smaller businesses continues to be a significant issue and has ramifications not only for the business concerned but society in general,” said an ISME spokesman.
“It can have a devastating impact both psychologically and financially on business owners, customers and staff. The incidence of crime, while on a downward trend, still merits considerable attention from the law enforcement agencies, which need to devote increased resources to ensure that crime perpetrated against business is eradicated.”
ISME called for an increased Garda public presence and tougher sentencing for perpetrators and also the establishment of a “National Forum on Crime” with a specific mandate to investigate the extent and impact of crime against business.
“If criminality in a given area deters entrepreneurs from setting up enterprises, society as a whole loses out as economic activity will be lower,” it said. “More importantly local areas will be denied commercial opportunities which, by their very nature, reduce and prevent crimes by creating employment.”