Businesses lose €1.8bn to crime: Justice system is failing our SMEs

THE justice system is failing indigenous small and medium enterprises and, accordingly, they are losing more than €1.8 billion annually as a result of crime.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association National Crime Survey found the yearly cost of crime per enterprise is €6,750, while the annual cost of prevention is €5,428 for each business. That is a huge burden on a small business that may have already come through a series of recessions and is struggling to keep going.

The problem lies in the revolving door of justice where even repeat offenders get off lightly or may get the benefit of the probation act.

Shoplifting, for instance, is a huge problem, not just for major retailers but also for local enterprises. It is almost impossible for the owner of a small shop to continually monitor his or her premises.

When a crime is detected, that same shop owner has a right to expect justice but far too often that fails to happen. The ISME survey found that 98% of its members who responded to their survey had no faith in the courts or the legal system to protect against business crime.

Every judge in the country should take note of that when passing sentence. While they may feel the need to temper justice with compassion, that should work both ways. Victims of crime deserve compassion and consideration too.


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