THERE is a perception that a crime against a business is in some way victimless, as ‘the insurance will cover it’, or ‘they can afford it they run their own business’: in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are many crimes committed against businesses, including stock shrinkage (better known as shop lifting) where there were over 385,000 cases in the England and Wales reported in 2017 of which over 17,000 were in the Thames Valley Authority area; theft from vans; driving away without paying for petrol, cyber attacks and many more – so why should we all care?

Watching comments on Bicester social media, the matter of theft of tools from vans – which is said to have shot up more than 30 per cent in the last year – has been a recent hot topic.

Worryingly, reports say that a van is broken into every 23 minutes across the UK, with a reported near 23,000 incidents in 2016/17.

The impact of this: the person whose tools have been taken is either unable to work at all, or delivers limited productivity until they can be replaced; the business that the victim works for, or if self-employed, loses income; the subsequent claim on the person's insurance – assuming they have insurance – means premiums for all trades persons are seen as a higher risk; the result of being seen as a higher risk to an insurance company is that the premium goes up across the board; the tradesperson is forced to increase their prices to off-set the higher costs and/or increased risk of having to buy new tools – so we all pay more.

The Bicester Chamber would urge the local police to improve the resources available to this crime, and also urge the van owners to: purchase vehicles with a higher level of security; make sure the vehicle is always locked and windows closed when leaving the vehicle, including any serial numbers; maintain an accurate and up-to-date record of tools stored in the vehicle; take photos of the tools being stored; consider carefully the location that the vehicle is parked in (try and install CCTV that overlooks the vehicle).

Crimes against businesses are far from victimless: everyone pays for them in the end and good businesses may disappear as a result of them.

Please report anything that you see to the business/ van owner and/ or the police.

The chamber does keep an eye on what is being mentioned within local social media and has a high degree of interest in matters that are both local and business-related. in Bicester.

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