Crime Map Ireland: is your business in a hot spot?

Almas Team

Between May 2016 and May 2018, there were more than 19,881 burglaries across the whole of Ireland. While it is not clear how many of these crimes specifically affected businesses, what is clear is that these types of crime cost businesses dearly and have a knock-on effect on employee safety.

Is your business based in Ireland? Then it is worth reading the latest statistics on crime, which show which areas of the country have the highest crime rate. You may be surprised by what you read. Recent news coverage has highlighted a growing problem with crime, much of which is affecting businesses. Do you have the right security to help prevent burglary, robbery, vandalism and other threats to your business?

Irish Crime Statistics

Between May 2016 and May 2018, there were more than 19,881 burglaries across the whole of Ireland. While it is not clear how many of these crimes specifically affected businesses, what is clear is that these types of crime cost businesses dearly and have a knock-on effect on employee safety.

The latest Central Statistics Office crime survey* shows that the County of Connacht has the most total crime, with 45,552 crimes recorded between 2016 and 2017. Just behind it is Leinster with 36,194 and then Munster with 32,302.

If we look at the five types of crime most likely to happen to businesses, then the statistics show that Connacht has the highest rates of robbery, theft and damage to property in 2016. In 2017 robbery increased by 1.66%, theft by 2.43% and damage by 3.77%. It is quite worrying that robbery (which differentiated from other forms of theft e.g. burglary, shoplifting or car theft by its inherently violent nature, is taking place in Dublin where over 874,000 people are employed in businesses which generate over 53% of Irelands GDP. Leinster has the highest rate of burglary, and this increased by 11.71% in 2017.

  Borough Robbery Burglary Theft Damage Totals
2016 Connacht 483 3372 14574 4133 22,562
Leinster 252 3570 9566 3815 17,203
Munster 191 2730 8724 3947 15,592
2017 Connacht 491 3264 14928 4253 22,936
Leinster 261 3988 10453 4289 18,991
Munster 191 2957 9541 4021 16,710

The costs

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) published its national crime survey in 2017. The survey found that 35% of business had been victims of crime over a 12-month period, with 75% experiencing more than two incidents. The most common crime recorded was burglary.

Fifty-four per cent of enterprises stated the direct cost of criminal activity was €1,000-€5,000, while 10% of businesses stated that direct cost was more than €10,000. Twenty-one per cent of respondents said they believe that crime in their locality is ‘getting worse,’ down from 28% in 2016. ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell said:

“Today’s results represent a mixed bag. It is disappointing to see levels of crime against business increasing. The cost of crime can have a devastating impact on businesses. Crime not only reduces profit and increases cost, but it affects corporate reputation and employee morale.”

Types of burglary

    • Opportunistic
      These burglaries lack any obvious planning and involve burglars taking advantage of poor security measures and/ or vulnerable points of a building such as an insecure door or window to enter the premises. They seldom try to overcome the alarm system and will be in and out of the building as fast as possible. The lack of planning means they take relatively little – typically only what can easily be carried off and removed from the premises quickly.
    • Smash and Grab
      These burglaries involve criminals using paving stones or other heavy objects to smash windows and gain entry to the premises. In these types of incidents, stolen vehicles are often used to ram their way into shops and help the thieves make a speedy getaway. In some cases, they take only the goods in the window so will target stores with expensive items on display. As with other crimes involving the misuse of motor vehicles, ram-raiding raises serious public safety issues. The amount of damage caused in each incident also makes repairs particularly expensive. Smash and grab attacks are usually to the front of the building and are carried out at great speed to avoid the effects of the alarm. Most are over within a minute.
    • Sophisticated
      In these incidents, burglars overcome alarm systems in various ways to allow themselves more time to act. They may be able to do this through inside information or, more likely, through careful observation over a period of time of a premises’ security measures. Another common ploy is to set the alarm off repeatedly and wait until the police and key holders stop responding to it. With the alarm disabled the burglars can enter unobtrusively, forcing open back doors or windows. Their usual target is high-value stock and sometimes the safe which is often removed entirely. Often their exit route is different from that used for entry.

CCTV and Video Surveillance as the first line of defence

You will have already noticed that CCTV is everywhere in Ireland. While that’s true on many city streets, there is no guarantee that public CCTV will offer any protection to your business. CCTV should be your first line of defence against crime and it can be used in a number of ways. For example, if you need to see who is coming into the reception area of your office or milling about at the back goods-in area, then CCTV system can do this. Keeping an eye on people not only helps to prevent crime but can make staff feel safer too. The best CCTV systems are motion-activated and linked to a monitored response outside of working hours, you can couple with motion-activated or timed lights and in some cases, loudspeakers that the monitoring centre can use to challenge the intruders.

GDPR regulations stipulate that clear signage must be used when you use CCTV, rather than being an issue, this actually signals to a potential intruder that they are being watched – this makes you a much less appealing target. Combine CCTV with a panic button under your counter in case you’re on the premises and needing some protection, and you can give your staff the feeling of being secure at all times. A SmokeCloke device (a fog generator) can also be very useful for out of hours burglaries to minimise the loss from a break in.

Another system worth investing in is video surveillance. This is a 24/7 monitoring system which can be used indoors or outdoors and can be connected to an external monitoring station. Many systems are accessible remotely on your phone, meaning that you can stay on top of any potential threats to your business quickly. Video surveillance systems benefits include:

  • Licence plate recognition
  • Monitoring cash desks
  • Tracking stolen objects
  • Identifying people
  • Detect when vandalism is occurring
  • Counting people in and out

Biometric Access Control Systems

A biometric access control system replaces the need for keys, fobs or pin codes. These systems range from simple single-entry fingerprint readers through to more complex multipoint entry systems. With a biometric fingerprint reader, you decide who has access to your business premises; unauthorised people cannot gain access. Biometric fingerprint readers are widely accepted as being the most secure and affordable form of biometric control. With the addition of a bolt-on package, many systems can be used to track time and attendance as well, so employee management becomes easier and less time-consuming.  Tracking time and attendance is a good deterrent to internal crime and this system works well with video surveillance.

Prevention is effective

When did you last critically evaluate your security provision? When did you walk the perimeter of your business and look with a criminal’s eye as to where it would be easy to access? Have you left expensive equipment visible from outside?

If your business is in an area where there are high recorded incidents of burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, vandalism or arson, then it makes sense to invest in security if you want to prevent crime from happening in the first place.

Almas Industries are market leaders, innovators, manufacturers and installers of CCTV, Biometric Access Control and Intruder Alarms. Get in touch with us if you would like a free security audit – we will look at your current security set-up and help you plug any gaps. Call us on 01 68 333 68 today – If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email via [email protected]. Don’t wait until it’s too late.