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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 23:53 GMT
Crime 'costs firms 722m a year'
Tractor used in recent raid on a Securitas cash van in Cheshire
Crimes against businesses have been in the news this year
The cost of crimes against British small and medium-sized companies totalled at least 722m last year, according to research by Axa Insurance.

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."


SEE ALSO:
The risk of doing business
02 Feb 06 |  Business
Firms warned of 'holiday fraud'
03 Jan 06 |  Business
What do people shoplift?
28 Nov 05 |  Magazine


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