Insurances and public liability requirements influence security arrangements for 82% of Irish businesses according to a new study on how crime affects businesses.

Over 40% of those surveyed were the victims of criminal activity since January 2020. For 88% 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% of those companies the cost was in excess of €500,000.

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, the global leaders in  Proactive Video Monitoring.

Key among the findings is that 63% of Irish businesses believe security has become more of a consideration with business interruption, health & safety and security breach ranked as the top three risks. 60% report that their business now gives security management essential or high priority.

Colin Hayes, Netwatch Head of Business (Ireland & UK) said: “This research clearly shows that security is a key consideration for business, particularly in organisations with more than 50 employees and with revenue of €1million 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.

“The key areas that influence security measures are insurance and public liability requirements and the cost involved when a crime is committed against a business.”

One-quarter of respondents said that the level of importance they placed on security had increased since the pandemic. While a similar number who have turned to remote working during the pandemic 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.

Burglary/Robbery is the main concern for 60% of organisations but vandalism, fraud and antisocial behaviour are also of increasing concern.

Antisocial Behaviour at 30% was the largest type of crime against business since January 2020. This is up from the 17% identified by business in the Netwatch Threat Index conducted in 2017. Assaults at 17% have also risen significantly from 2017 when they accounted for just 3% of crime listed.

“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 Hayes.

He also said 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.

Looking to the future

The research shows that 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.

The comprehensive Netwatch 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% being SME’s and 16% Enterprise businesses.