Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Keeping out the Crooks

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Keeping out the Crooks

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Logan

Insurance experts are warning companies to take extra precautions against a rise in intruders as the dark nights draw in.

Burglary is one of the most common business crimes.

A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) showed that in 2003-4 more than a third of companies were burgled and a further 19pc were the targets for attempted burglaries.

Business crime in general was up 6pc on a previous survey in 2001 and a third of companies suffered disruption to trading as a result of crime. In all, the BCC estimated that crime costs businesses pounds 19bn per year.

Being the victim of a break-in can have far-reaching consequences for businesses. According to the Institute of Directors (IoD), crime costs affected businesses an average of pounds 5,000 a year.

Apart from the disruption to trading, decreased morale can lead to a jump in staff turnover. Longer-term, business crime can mean people are less willing to invest in certain areas and can lead to higher prices for consumers.

"Despite the consequences of business crime, it's worrying that two-thirds of companies lack fully-comprehensive insurance coverage and nearly 40pc have never sought crime-reduction advice," says David Taylor, divisional director of HSBC's insurance broking division.

"With business crime on the rise, it's critical that all business owners stay alert and put contingencies in place to try to minimise incidents."

Precautions against burglary - HSBC's tips for businesses:

* Assess your risk: Examine all the opportunities criminals might have to target your business. Most crimes against businesses are opportunistic, so consider all the potential weak spots.

* Be systematic: Draw up a checklist and work your way through it.

* Consider people: Remember that risks don't always involve fixed assets like equipment or property. …

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