Patterns of victimisation among small retail businesses


Surveys of crime against business are beginning to grow, providing mounting evidence of the high risks many businesses face, and the substantial financial costs incurred. This paper reports results from what is only the second major national crime survey of businesses in Australia. The survey focused on small retailers in six sectors, providing a sample of nearly 4,000 businesses. This paper looks at which crimes were most commonly experienced in 1998–99, and how those experiences varied across the retail sectors. For every 100 businesses surveyed, 62 incidents of burglary occurred. Liquor outlets were particularly vulnerable, with 37 per cent experiencing at least one incident of burglary and 24 per cent being burgled more than once. The issue of repeat victimisation (which has been the focus of much recent work in relation to crime against households) is also examined. Results here confirm that similar patterns apply to businesses—a minority of businesses, repeatedly targeted, account for a large proportion of all the crimes measured. Therefore, crime prevention directed at repeatedly victimised businesses will be more effective than random targeting. The findings in this paper are an important indication to retailers of their level of vulnerability.