Trends & Features

Business crime figures rise as British economy remains squeezed

Levels of crime committed against businesses in the UK have grown by 16 per cent in the worst hit areas, while across the UK the cost of theft has increased significantly alongside a rise in the use of violence.

The findings, taken from AXA’s business insurance claims records to end May 2012, suggest the riots of last summer contributed to an overall three per cent increase in the level of crimes against businesses during the last 12 months.

However, riots aside, the increase reflects a general and continuing upward trend of crime against business in the last two years, with a three per cent increase also recorded for the previous year.

The most common crime committed against business is theft, accounting for around 74 per cent of the total volume.

And while the number of thefts have risen only slightly over the last 12 months, there has been a rise of six per cent in the average value of theft claims to just under £4,000.

The number of thefts involving force or violence has also increased by around six per cent.

AXA, which insures around 25 per cent of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises, revealed that, aside from riot claims, arson was the crime that saw the biggest rise last year – with around 10 per cent more cases – while malicious damage claims against businesses dropped by the same figure.

“In a continued period of recession it is no surprise to see business crime levels rising, however what is most alarming for business owners is the increase in levels of violence associated with theft,” says Douglas Barnett, AXA’s head of customer risk management.

“This, coupled with the increase in value of the average theft, suggests a more ‘determined’ than ‘opportunistic’ thief is emerging during hard financial times.”

Top 10 areas for business crime by postcode region June 2011-end May 2012:

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