What Are Common Crimes Against Businesses
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What are common crimes against businesses? This article looks at crimes that affect businesses and how to protect your property. 24/7 Doors & Shutters Ltd provide commercial shutters and doors in Manchester for business security. Read more about common crimes against businesses.
Crimes That Affect Businesses
Running a business can be challenging, and one of the many obstacles that business owners face is the possibility of crimes committed against their businesses. Crimes such as theft, fraud and embezzlement can impact businesses in different ways, affecting the financial stability of the company and its reputation.
Theft by Employees
One of the most significant crimes that affect businesses is employee theft. Employees handle money and valuable merchandise often with limited oversight, making it easier for them to steal from the company.
Employee theft can take on different forms, including undercharging customers, stealing products from the shipping or loading dock, diverting money from a business account, and lapping or skimming money from sales or accounts.
Shoplifting & Burglary
Shoplifting is another major concern for small-business owners, and it can have a significant impact on the bottom line of the company.
Shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes and can steal merchandise by stuffing them into their pockets, purses, baby carriages or bags. Business owners who raise prices to cover the losses may find it harder to compete with other businesses.
When businesses are closed, burglary and breaking and entering become another concern. Burglars can break into a business and steal valuable merchandise, equipment or data.
Cybercrime & Cyberattacks
With the increasing use of the internet to conduct business and store records, businesses have become more vulnerable to cybercrime and cyberattacks. Hackers may steal sensitive information, such as customer lists or credit information, and viruses can infect files, causing expensive havoc. According to Cybercrime Magazine, 50 per cent of cyberattacks target small businesses.
Business owners should take proactive measures to protect their businesses from cyber threats by investing in cybersecurity measures, such as antivirus software, firewalls, and data encryption. It's also important to train employees to identify and report suspicious activities and to implement strict policies and procedures for handling sensitive information.
UK Crime Statistics
Prevalence & frequency of crime
The 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) estimated that 38% of business premises in the Wholesale and retail sector in England and Wales had been victims of crime between April 2020 and March 2021, with theft being the most commonly experienced crime type at 27%.
Theft by customers was the most frequent crime, with 28% of respondents experiencing incidents once a week or more. Fraud against businesses also showed a reduction from 10% in 2018 to 6% in 2021.
Retail premises experienced theft more frequently than wholesale premises, and food and groceries were the most commonly stolen items.
The CVS has been run for eight years, with the Wholesale and retail sector being included each year due to the high volumes of crimes covered by the survey. Data tables for previous years are available on the ‘Crime against businesses statistics’ page on Gov.UK.
Extent of crime against wholesale & retail premises
According to the latest Crime Against Businesses report by the Home Office, 38% of wholesale and retail premises, which amounts to around 151,000 premises, experienced crime in the year ending March 2021.
This prevalence rate is similar to that seen in 2018 when 40% of premises (147,000 premises) experienced crime. However, it is lower than the prevalence rate seen in 2012, when 53% of premises (206,000 premises) experienced crime
The most common type of crime experienced by wholesale and retail premises was theft, with 27% of premises reporting theft by customers, employees, others, or unknown persons.
Assaults and threats were the second most common crime type, with 11% of premises reporting these types of crimes. Burglary (including attempts) and vandalism were the third and fourth most common crime types, with 10% and 9% of premises reporting these crimes, respectively.
Theft against businesses
In the UK, theft is the most prevalent crime type, and it is experienced by over a quarter of premises, accounting for 27% or 107,000 premises in 2021, compared to 24% or 90,000 premises in 2018.
The most common type of theft experienced by businesses is theft by customers, which accounts for 25% or 98,000 premises, as reported in 2021. Thefts by customers largely comprise shoplifting incidents in the wholesale and retail sectors.
According to police records in England and Wales, shoplifting incidents peaked in the year to March 2018 and then decreased in the following years.
However, there was a large fall of 36% in shoplifting incidents in the year to March 2021, following the closure of non-essential shops during the first year of the pandemic.
Early figures for the year to September 2021 showed signs that levels are starting to return to pre-pandemic levels, with around 250,000 shoplifting offences recorded in the year to September 2021, compared to around 230,000 in the year to March 2021.
Burglary against businesses
Burglary, including attempts, is a prevalent crime in the wholesale and retail sectors in the UK. In fact, according to the 2021 Crime Survey for England and Wales, one in ten premises, or 10% (equivalent to 40,000 premises) had experienced a burglary. This figure is consistent with the prevalence rates reported in the 2018 CVS, which showed that 11% of premises in the sector had been victims of burglary
Although it is the third most prevalent crime, most premises that experienced burglary reported that the crime did not occur frequently. Only 12% of the businesses that experienced burglary reported that the crime occurred once a month or more often.
Violence against businesses
Violence against businesses is a major concern in the UK, and it can have serious consequences for both the employees and the business itself. According to the 2021 CVS report, assaults and threats were the second most prevalent crime against businesses, with 12% or 46,000 premises experiencing this type of crime.
The report also revealed that the majority of these incidents occurred several times a year (34%), with 30% of respondents experiencing assaults or threats roughly once a month to once a week. Only a small percentage (6%) reported experiencing assaults or threats daily. The impact of violence on businesses can be severe, leading to lost productivity, absenteeism, and high employee turnover. It can also damage a business's reputation, resulting in a loss of customers and revenue.
The use of technology has become an integral part of modern businesses, and with it comes the threat of online crime.
The 2021 Crime Victimisation Survey (CVS) conducted by the UK government revealed that 7% of businesses that use computers at their premises were victims of computer misuse incidents.
This translates to approximately 25,000 businesses across the UK. The most common type of computer misuse incident reported by businesses was fraudulent email attempts, which accounted for 5% of all incidents reported.
This means that around 19,000 businesses experienced fraudulent email attempts in 2021.
According to the 2021 Crime Victimisation Survey (CVS), approximately 6% of premises in the wholesale and retail sector in the UK experienced fraud, which is a decline from 10% in 2018. However, this crime type still has a considerable financial impact on businesses, with fraud incidents often causing significant financial loss. Premises in this sector were most likely to experience retail fraud (48%) and debit or credit fraud (45%).
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Crime Report 2022 further highlights that the cost of fraud to convenience stores alone in 2022 was around £11 million. While fraud is a relatively low-volume crime, caution is needed when interpreting findings for this crime type. Respondents might not know if the premise has been a victim of fraud or not, with such crimes often being handled by Head Offices.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
The prevalence of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the UK business sector was found to be relatively low, with only 14% of premises experiencing ASB. Within this, 15% of retail premises and 9% of wholesale premises reported ASB incidents. The most commonly reported types of ASB included groups loitering on the street (35%), intimidation, verbal abuse, harassment, or threats (24%), and street drinking, underage drinking, or drunken behaviour (23%).
ASB can cause significant problems for businesses, including loss of customers, damage to reputation, and decreased employee morale. Therefore, it is important to address and prevent such behaviour. The UK government has introduced measures to tackle ASB, including the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This Act provides a range of tools to prevent and respond to ASB, including civil injunctions, criminal behaviour orders, and dispersal powers.
Vandalism & property damage
Vandalism and property damage are serious concerns for businesses in the UK. According to a report, business premises with more than 50 employees experienced higher rates of deliberate damage, including graffiti or arson, compared with premises that had fewer than 9 employees.
25% of businesses with more than 50 employees had experienced deliberate damage, while only 7% of those with fewer than 9 employees had faced such incidents.
The majority of the businesses (92%) that had experienced deliberate damage were located in urban areas. Of the premises that had fallen victim to vandalism and property damage, over half (58%) experienced damage to any part of the building, and around two in ten (23%) experienced damage to the equipment or stock.
It was reported that respondents at the majority of businesses (83%) were unaware of the motivation for the incident.
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