Crime site helps SMEs fight back

Published:  04 June, 2009

LANCASTER: Premierline Direct, the business insurance specialist, is helping small business owners  …

in the fight against crime, with the launch of a new website is providing advice and interactive tools to help SMEs reduce their risk of becoming a victim of crime.

The highlight of the site is a risk assessment questionnaire, designed to help owners identify how susceptible their business is to criminal activity and then offers information on how they can better protect their assets.

In addition, the website provides a platform for regional business communities to keep in touch about crime in their area, acting as an online business neighbourhood watch scheme.

This forum allows users to post a message about an incident so that their business neighbours can be on the alert.

One third of SME owners believe crime against businesses is on the rise and experts predict the credit crunch will halt falling crime rates, it is vital that companies look at how they can protect themselves if the worst did happen.

The average cost for a small business claim amounts to £3409.

Chris Little, managing director of Premierline Direct said: "The general consensus among the SME community is that crime against businesses is on the increase. We have listened to the views of small businesses, who said they would find it useful to have a forum where they could get advice and share information with other business owners in their area, and responded to their needs by launching the Beat Business Crime website.

"To reduce the risk of business crime it's important that businesses do all they can to protect themselves, for example by preventing unlawful access to their premises or by undertaking proper checks on new employees. But it's also important that they review their insurance policy to ensure they have accurately valued their assets and have the correct level of insurance cover in place.

"We understand how disruptive a claim can be and therefore want to help businesses avoid being a victim of crime. The Beat Business Crime website is a step towards achieving this."

Research conducted on behalf of Premierline Direct found the most common type of crime against businesses is theft from premises (54%).

This is followed by fraud (19%), malicious damage (16%) and theft from a vehicle (16%).

Other types of events noted from SMEs included online fraud and theft from staff.

Of the SMEs that have been a victim of crime, 35% have been targeted more than three times and 36% have had an incident in the last 12 months.

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