Nearly one-third of Irish SMEs hurt by crime


Nearly one-third of businesses have been hurt by crime in the last year, with almost half of those affected suffering multiple incidents.

Crime affected 31% of companies and cost €1.83 billion annually, according to a new survey carried out by the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME).  

Individually, crime costs businesses almost €12,000 per year on average.

The yearly direct cost of crime per enterprise is €6,750, while the cost of prevention is €5,428.

The most common crime reported was 'theft by outsiders' (32%), followed by 'burglary' (29%), 'vandalism' (27%), and 'attempted burglary' (24%).

The retail sector was most heavily affected, followed by construction.

The level of crime was down 5% on last year's figures.

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding told Newstalk Breakfast that while SMEs are satisfied with how the Gardai handles crime, there are problems later in the process.

He said:

"The difficulty comes when it's the rest of the legal system  whether it be the judiciary with small sentences or whether it be the penal system in the prisons where somebody is sent into jail for six months and is out after two weeks.

"And that's the big issue. We have this revolving door. Owner-managers, when they come to report a crime and go to court as witnesses, they're meeting the perpetrator on the way out. Because they're getting probation or they're getting, as I say, very small sentences. So that leaves the confidence in the judiciary and the penal system down at a very low level.

"98% of small businesses don't have faith in the judicial and legal system because of the way it's being handled at the moment.

"The reduction of business crime is fundamental to business prosperity and is not being prioritised by government." 

Fielding also called for the separate recording of incidents to "allow for the allocation of proper resources to deal with business crime."

Craig Fitzpatrick, 

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