Irish businesses not reporting crime
Businesses are not reporting crime because they have lost faith in the justice system, a study by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has said.
New research found a fifth of firms did not inform Gardai when they were targeted by criminals during the past 12 months and almost all, 98%, felt the law was ineffective.
Mark Fielding, ISME chief executive, said: "The results of the survey are a damning indictment of the judicial system."
Nearly 1,000 companies responded to the annual survey which has been monitoring the rate of crime against businesses since 2003.
Firms reported a significant jump in the number of companies which experienced more than one instance of crime - up from 75% last year to 84 in 2015.
However, few owners or managers, just 7%, were confident perpetrators would be caught.
The study found direct costs for companies targeted by burglars and thieves were 9,539 euro a year - a rise of 128% since 2007.
When added to the 4,652 euro bill for preventative measures like alarms and CCTV, the total cost of crime for each enterprise averaged at 14,191 euro, ISME said.
Retail was the worst affected sector, with the service and construction industries not far behind.
Firms located in Dublin City and Munster were also more likely to be hit.
Mr Fielding said tougher action should be taken by the law authorities.
He said: "This lack of faith is reflected in the fact that one fifth of crimes are not being reported.
"Sentencing must be appropriate to the crimes committed and should adequately deter repeat offences.
"A much tougher stance is needed in relation to business crime as part of a comprehensive business crime prevention strategy, so that this scourge on business can be eradicated.
"Until this issue is taken more seriously at official level, business owners will not put in the time and money into reporting a crime unless they are confident of adequate action being taken against the perpetrators of crime in their businesses."