The cost of crimes against British small and medium-sized companies totalled at least £722m last year, according to research by Axa Insurance.
Crimes against businesses have been in the news this year
Under-claiming by companies means the true cost is probably much higher, the firm said.
Axa found that theft was the biggest problem for small companies, accounting for 45% of all crime claim settlements, followed by arson at 42%.
Overall crime claims by firms rose by 27% in the last quarter of 2005.
The increase was in comparison to the previous quarter.
After theft and arson, malicious damage was the next most prevalent crime, accounting for 12% of all claims.
'Out of business'
Axa's figures suggest Derby was the worst city in Britain for crimes against businesses in the third quarter of 2005, with 31% of all settled claims from firms in the city during that period being related to crime.
Derby was followed by Bradford on 30%, Nottingham on 29%, Cardiff on 27% and Middlesbrough on 25%.
"The findings demonstrate just how much of a problem crime is for small and medium-sized businesses," said Neil Mercier, property insurance manager at Axa.
"Crime accounts for one-fifth of our entire claim book and while most are low-level, inexpensive crimes such as petty theft and malicious damage, some claims run into tens of thousands of pounds and can put enterprises out of business entirely."