Crime is becoming a huge issue for small businesses owners in London. Indeed, according to the Federation of Small Businesses, 38% of small companies are not reporting crimes that they are victims of, because they believe that reporting the crime would not lead to a prosecution. Crime figures in the capital are already concerning enough, but this statistic raises questions about how accurate they are, and whether there is enough trust in the police force right now.
Almost a quarter of small business owners do not report crimes that are committed against them, and that statistic is one that has remained unchanged from survey to survey since 2010, in spite of the launch of the Police and Crime Commissioners initiative in 2012.
Since 2014, business crime figures in London have been rising, and business crime accounts for 15.5 percent of all crime that is recorded by the MPS. Westminster is an area that has much more crime than other boroughs, and in Hillingdon, one quater of recorded crimes are against businesses.
Securing Your Premises
Shoplifting and commercial robbery has been trending upwards, and crime rates in London appear to be higher than the national average. Overall, shoplifting is one of the biggest concerns in the Wholesale and Retail sector, accounting for 67% of all crime against that sector. The average cost of shoplifting, per victim, has increased from £237 in 2012, to £500 in 2016. Wholesale and retail has the highest crime rate, nationwide, compared to other sectors, although the number of reported incidents has fallen since 2012. However, as the FSB’s survey shows, many businesses are simply not reporting the crimes that they experience, which raises questions about how accurate those crime statistics are.
Online crime is becoming an increasingly serious issue, with admin, retail and transport companies all experiencing online crime – including hacking, computer viruses, and vandalism. These crimes are particularly hard to prosecute because some of them are targeted and some are not. A computer virus infection could come from a user that is not even aware that they are spreading a virus, and in the cases of hacking and vandalism, the perpetrator may be in another country.
The cost to business owners from crime is increasing at statistically significant levels, and some small business owners are being crippled by the crimes that they are facing.
The Police and Crime Commissioner positions are ones that people are voted into, and it is important that the PCC communicates with business owners about their plans to tackle crime, and gives business owners the confidence that they will see something done about the issues that thy are facing. Crime is not a joke, and the lack of confidence that people have in the police right now is something that must be addressed. The police cannot work to combat crimes that they do not know are happening, and if they believe that crime rates in London are falling when they actually are not, then they will not be able to do their jobs as effectively as they would like.