Crime and Its Devastating Impact on the Business Community; LEGAL & FINANCE

Article excerpt

Byline: GUY HINCHLEY

I was pleased to read that Broad Street, Birmingham's "entertainment mile", saw a 59.6 per cent reduction in crime in the last year.

What's more, the city centre has received a Safer Business Award, a national accolade which recognises the success and a reduction in people's fear of crime.

With crack-downs on binge drinking, and initiatives directed at gun crime, you might start to feel that Birmingham is becoming zero tolerant on crime.

But unfortunately we have just been the victims of a lap-top thief and there is clearly still a job to be done.

We, and other firms along Birmingham's "commercial mile", still experience these irritating intrusions from time to time.

At the risk of sounding like a psychological profiler, there seem to be three types of criminal who appear to be targeting Birmingham's professional sector. Firstly, opportunistic young teenagers, who rarely get past first base. Then we have the suited and booted con artist, who bluffs his way past security or tailgates members of staff into the premises. Finally, we have career criminals, many of whom are known to the police and who appear to make a living out of staking out the city's offices and helping themselves to the contents.

Top of their lists are laptops, mobile phones and BlackBerries which are acquired for onward sale. I don't suppose they get a lot for them, but the loss causes a disproportionately high amount of cost, upset and disruption for the employers and the people who have lost their working tools.

What has disappointed me most about these crimes, aside from the inconvenience and general anxiety they cause, is an apparently fairly cursory follow up from the police. …