Australian Institute of Criminology

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Patterns of victimisation among small retail businesses

Media Release

21 March 2002

Small businesses in Australia experience a great deal more crime than households.

Releasing a study, Patterns of Victimisation Among Small Retail Businesses, the Director of the AIC, Dr Adam Graycar said, "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".

Overall it was found that across six retail sectors, 49 per cent of businesses experienced at least one incident of crime - burglary being the most common. Customer theft was the next most commonly experienced crime, with 21 per cent of businesses victimised.

The paper also discusses repeat victimisation among small businesses. The study found that repeat incidents are common across all six retail sectors. Repeat incidents of burglary appear to occur more often at liquor outlets and service stations. Repeat vandalism was particularly common among general stores, and service stations were most frequently the victims of repeat credit card fraud.

Liquor outlets appeared to be particularly vulnerable to repeat incidents, making their overall risks higher than other sectors. Whether this is because of the products they sell, their opening hours, business practices or other factors needs to be investigated further.

"The results are taken from only the second major national crime survey of businesses in Australia - a national crime survey of small businesses in Australia (Small Business Crime Survey) over the period 1998/99. The emphasis in other victim surveys has largely been on crimes against householders and their property", said Dr Adam Graycar, AIC Director.

The study focuses on retailers in six sectors: cafes/restaurants; general stores/milk bars; liquor outlets; service stations; newsagents; and pharmacies.

The survey provides data on the following crimes: burglary; shoplifting; vandalism; cheque/credit card fraud; employee theft; assault/threat; armed robbery; unarmed robbery; theft from vehicles; theft of motor vehicles; employee fraud; and other crimes.