The costs of crime on small businesses

Running a small business comes with its fair share of challenges, but one that often gets overlooked is the impact of crime. From theft and vandalism to fraud and cyberattacks, criminal activities can wreak havoc on the bottom line of small businesses.

While the financial implications of crime, including loss of revenue, increased expenses and potential legal costs can be distressing, don’t be disheartened. Abbey Security Services provide specialist security services throughout Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia and we have put together some actionable tips and strategies that small business owners can implement to safeguard their livelihood.

The traditional crimes that affect small businesses

While fraud is a concern for small businesses who fear being targeted by scammers and identity thieves, a 2019 report from the Federation of Small Businesses, shows that traditional crime is just as prevalent as cybercrime but the average cost is double. According to the Report, on average, traditional crime in England and Wales, such as burglary and criminal damage, has cost businesses more than £14,000 over two years. And 34% of smaller businesses in England and Wales experienced at least one traditional business crime in the previous two years. Of these, the most frequently reported types were robbery and burglary (42%), theft (38%) and criminal damage (36%).

Small businesses are often seen as easy targets by criminals due to their limited resources and security measures. However, the financial costs of crime can be significant, leading to a loss of revenue and increased expenses. When stock is stolen or damaged, small businesses not only lose the value of the items but also potential sales that could have been made. Vandalism is also harmful with broken windows, graffiti and property damage leading to costly repairs. Understanding what makes your business vulnerable to these different types of crime can be the first step in addressing this issue.

The invisible impacts of crime

Beyond the financial costs, crime can also have an emotional and psychological impact on small business owners. For many entrepreneurs, your business is not just a source of income but also a lifelong dream and a manifestation of your passion and hard work. When your business is targeted by criminals, it can feel like a personal attack, leading to feelings of anger, frustration and worry that they could be targeted by criminals again.

Take positive steps to stop crime

While small businesses may be more vulnerable to crime, there are several proactive steps that can be taken to prevent and deter criminal activities. One of the first and most important measures is to invest in a comprehensive security plan from a professional security company like Abbey Security. By assessing the vulnerabilities of the business premises, such as weak entry points or blind spots, appropriate security measures can be implemented.

Installing surveillance cameras, alarms and proper lighting can act as deterrents and increase the chances of catching criminals in the act. Additionally, small businesses should consider implementing access control systems, such as key cards or biometric scanners, to limit unauthorised entry.

Training employees on crime prevention is another proactive measure that can be taken. Educate your staff on how to identify and report suspicious activities, as well as the importance of following security protocols. This can include regular communication and reminders about the need to lock doors, secure cash registers and be vigilant when dealing with customers.

Reporting and documenting incidents of crime

When a crime occurs, it is crucial to report the incident to the appropriate authorities promptly. This not only helps in the investigation and potential recovery of stolen items but reporting crime helps law enforcement agencies to allocate resources more effectively to where the need has been identified. Small businesses should document as much information as possible about the incident, including dates, times, descriptions of the individuals involved and any witnesses. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims and legal proceedings if necessary.

Build a support network

Small businesses should not tackle crime alone. Engaging with the local community and forming partnerships can be an effective strategy in combating crime. By joining local business associations or neighbourhood watch groups, information and resources can be shared. These groups help to raise awareness of crime and the importance of security, often collaborating with law enforcement agencies and other community organisations to implement crime prevention initiatives.

For small businesses that have already fallen victim to crime, there are resources and support available to provide guidance and assistance, including advice on insurance claims and legal procedures. Grants and financial assistance programs may be available to help with investment in security measures or recover from losses incurred due to crime.

Crime can have devastating consequences, both financially and emotionally. However, by taking a proactive approach to crime prevention and recovery, small business owners will be empowered to safeguard their livelihoods and protect their businesses from the hidden costs of crime.

If you have been a victim of crime or are concerned that your small business could be targeted by criminals, get in touch with our expert team today, on 01284 768832, and we can help with a tailored security service that will keep your business and staff are protected at all times.

Posted on September 20, 2023

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