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UK Business Crime – Is Your Business At Risk

Want the latest stats and insights on crime against businesses in the UK? Read our latest look here.

When choosing how to secure your business it is important to understand the crime rates in your area in order to ensure that your business is sufficiently secure.

A recent study from the National Business Crime Centre, based upon data supplied by police forces across the country has revealed the true extent of business crime across the UK.

The data includes a variety of crimes such as, shoplifting, burglary, theft by an employee and making off without payment and has also revealed that, more often than not, the criminal isn’t reprehended.

Key Findings

  • There were a total of 606,282 crimes against businesses in England and Wales.
  • An average of 69.2 crimes every hour affecting businesses
  • 1,032 business crimes for every 100,000 people living in the country
  • Shoplifting was the most common business crime with 374,395
  • 103,391 burglaries against commercial properties
  • 58% of business crime cases were unresolved, with no suspect identified
  • Cleveland (North East), Humberside and Northumbria were the three areas most effected
  • 16,886 attempted burglaries
  • The number of crimes targeting businesses has decreased compared to the previous year, when there were 657,718.
  • 8,256 robberies, 9,835 thefts by employees and 4,050 thefts from an automatic machine or meter.

Crime rates by area

Overall the highest rate of business crime per person was in the North East, where for every 100,000 people there were 1948 incidents of crime.

However, the North East isn’t the only place where business crime rates are alarmingly high with some of the larger areas being affected just as much. These areas include Humberside (1567 incidents*), Northumbria (1532*) and Nottinghamshire (1402 incidents*).

A deeper look at the numbers revealed that across all areas there were 69.2 crimes affecting businesses every hour – roughly 1032 incidents per 100,000 people living in the country.

However, the good news is that the total number of business related crimes has decreased from the previous year going from 657,718 to 606,282 – a decrease of 51,436

Furthermore, it is important to remember that the larger areas like Manchester, London and Nottinghamshire will naturally have a higher number of business crime rates as more people live and work there. However whilst this may be the case security should be an essential priority for any business owner regardless of location.

*Per 100,000 people

The most common offences

Whilst knowing the potential for crime in a given area is essential, it is just as important to have an understanding of the types of crimes that are likely to occur.

Across the country the most common crime, accounting for over half of all business crime, was shoplifting with a recorded 374,395 incidents. This is over triple the amount of the next most common crime which was burglary with 109,391 incidents.

The figures also reveal 83,032 cases of making off without paying, 9835 thefts by employees, 8256 robberies, 6886 attempted burglaries, and 437 aggravated burglaries – when criminals attempted a burglary with a weapon.

Knowing this information is the first step to securing your business and ensuring that your premises, customers and staff remain safe.

Crime by industry

As a business owner looking to secure your business against crime, it is important to understand the industries at the highest risk of business crime and if you fall into that category. A 2018 study from the home office revealed that the highest risk sector is wholesale and retail with 42% of businesses reporting a theft to the police in 2018.

The next highest risk sectors are agriculture, forestry and fishing collectively. However despite this, incidents of theft, vandalism, assault and burglary have fallen steadily since 2013 with only minor increases in cases of fraud and robbery.

Similarly, the home office report specifies the accommodation and food sectors as the next highest risk sectors yet these too have experienced little to no crime increase over the last few years with only 5000 incidents per 1000 premises reported in 2018.

If you are concerned about the security of your business, please speak to a member of our team who can advise on the best security solution for you on 0808 156 1561 or email

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