Business crime figures creep upwards as British economy remains squeezed
Across the UK the cost of theft has increased significantly alongside a rise in the use of violence.
The findings, taken from AXA’s business insurance claims records to end May 2012, suggest that the riots of last summer contributed to an overall 3% increase in the level of crimes against businesses during the last twelve months. However, riots aside, the increase reflects a general and continuing upward trend of crime against business in the last two years with a 3% increase also recorded for the previous year. In the top ten worst affected postcode areas of the country (see list below) the rise in crime rates over the last year has been 16%.
The most common crime committed against business is theft accounting for around 74% of the total volume. And while numbers of thefts have risen only slightly over the last twelve months there has been a significant rise of 6% in the average value of theft claims to just under £4000. The number of thefts involving force or violence has also increased by around 6%.
Douglas Barnett, Head of Customer Risk Management, from AXA says: “In a continued period of recession it is no surprise to see business crime levels rising, however what is most alarming for business owners is the increase in levels of violence associated with theft. This, coupled with the increase in value of the average theft suggests a more “determined” than “opportunistic” thief is emerging during hard financial times”.
Halifax was in at number one this year after experiencing the second highest climb in crime rates in the UK over the last twelve months. Its position in 2010/11 was 57.
Other newcomers in the top ten for 2012 are Luton, Doncaster and Bolton while Coventry, Derby, Milton Keynes and Lincoln have dropped out of the top spots since 2011.
In terms of actual numbers of crimes against businesses, South West London is top followed by Leeds and Birmingham. The postcode area with the biggest rise in crime rates was Sutton, with numbers of crime up by 140%, taking them to 19th place overall in the UK.
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