Since January 2020, antisocial behaviour at 30 per cent was the type of crime most experienced by Irish businesses. Photo: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Average cost of crime for most companies is €47k

What crime would you think was the issue that most affects businesses in Ireland?

Well according to a new survey, since January 2020, antisocial behaviour at 30 per cent was the type of crime most experienced by Irish businesses this year. Vandalism and burglary were next at 28 per cent each, while assaults followed at 17 per cent.

The survey to determine the type of crime, the costs and the importance of security among Irish businesses was conducted by Amárach Research for Netwatch, who provide proactive video monitoring.

The survey also found that over 40 per cent of those surveyed by Netwatch were the victims of criminal activity since January 2020. For 88 per cent of those who were impacted by criminal activity the cost to the business as a result of the crime was an average of €47,000. For another 5 per cent of those companies, the cost was in excess of €500,000.

“It would appear that antisocial behaviour and assaults are focussed on businesses such as retail and other situations where staff have face-to-face interaction with the public,” said Colin Hayes, Netwatch Head of Business (Ireland & UK).

Hayes added that an aspect of burglary and robbery that has given rise to concern particularly among car dealerships, car rental and even car parking operators is the incidence of catalytic converters being stolen.

Figures released by An Garda Síochána in August last show that the number of stolen catalytic converters had jumped from 79 in 2017 to 1,300 in 2020.

Insurances and public liability requirements influence security arrangements for 82 per cent of Irish businesses according to the study.

Mr Hayes said: “This survey clearly shows that security is now a key consideration for businesses, particularly in organisations with more than 50 employees and with revenue of €1 million or more. Not surprisingly almost half of those planning to increase their investment in security have been a victim of criminal activity in recent times.

“Now as winter kicks in and daylight hours are reduced, it’s a critical time for businesses to review their security risk.”

Looking to the future nearly one third of the businesses surveyed expect their investment in security will increase over the next 12 months. This expectation is highest among organisations with 50+ employees and those with between 2-4 sites.

Remote monitored CCTV is the most popular measure for future investment, followed by intruder alarm systems, self-monitored CCTV and perimeter fencing.

One-quarter of respondents said that the level of importance they placed on security had increased since the pandemic. A similar number who have turned to remote working said that remote working had caused their security needs to change. These changes included increasing security in general, increasing physical measures and increasing remote security.

The research was carried out by Amárach Research during July/August 2021 to study business security, risk and cost. The 260 survey participants were all senior business decision makers with responsibility for security measures within their organisations. Over 20 different business sectors were canvassed with 84 per cent being SMEs and 16 per cent enterprise businesses.