Nearly 50pc of firms report surge in crime
Just under half of all companies say there has been an increase in crime over the past two years, according to a poll by the Small Firms' Association.
More than a third of businesses were victims of crime in the past two years and half of respondents were victims of crime on three or more occasions. Worries about crime have led companies to spending €1.2bn on security every year and €260m on maintaining security equipment, according to the SFA's crime survey.
"The business community is under constant attack from planned professional criminality," said SFA assistant director Avine McNally. "There is an enormous psychological price being paid by business people as crime is now more organised, more professional, more ruthless and more pervasive."
The cost burden to firms can range from €80 to €200,000 but the average cost per incident is €8,728, the SFA said.
"A large part of the cost burden falls on retailers who are especially vulnerable to crime and find themselves spending large sums of money on security measures they can ill afford," said Ms McNally.
"The use of intruder alarms remains the most common security system with nearly 84pc of firms having a system in place."
The major forms of crime cited were theft of cash, theft of stock, theft of property, burglary, criminal damage, internal fraud and credit or cheque fraud.
Nine per cent of respondents had experienced crime while travelling on business. Theft of cash (64pc) and credit card fraud (57pc) were the main forms of crime.
The SFA has urged the Government and gardai to "get tough on crime".