Businesses across England and Wales were victimised by an estimated 9.2 million crimes in one 12-month period – equating to 13 incidents per business surveyed.
The figures are from the first Commercial Victimisation survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which surveyed four main industry sectors – manufacturing, retail/wholesale, transport/storage, and accommodation/food – and asked them about their experience of crime over the past 12 months.
Retail/wholesale reported by far the largest number of crimes, with 19,701 criminal incidents reported per 1,000 premises. Accommodation/food businesses came second, reporting 7,361 incidents in the 12 months prior to interview.
"The vast majority of these incidents were theft-related," the ONS said in its announcement.
The ONS released those results alongside its latest trends and the overall 46,000-household Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW, previously known as the British Crime Survey).
Data from additional sources has been included in the quarterly figures on fraud released by the ONS, including from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau as well as the CSEW survey and police data.
These new figures reveal that, for the year ending September 2012, some 431,402 cases of fraud were committed, with fraud involving technology making a significant appearance.
|Banking and payment-related fraud||331,054|
|Telecommunications industry fraud||18,523|
|Advance fee fraud ("Nigerian" letters)||30,571|
|Consumer phone fraud||305|
|Corporate employee fraud||293|
|Charities and grants||244|
|Business trading fraud||161|
|Corporate procurement fraud||
The statistics released do not differentiate between fraud targeting individuals and fraud targeting businesses, however. Category overlap is also possible, the ONS said.
In addition, the ONS noted that year-on-year comparisons are useful only from 2007-2008, following the introduction of the Fraud Act 2006. Responsibility for recording fraud offences since then has been transferred from five police forces to Action Fraud.
The amount of fraud reported to the police overall was less than in 2011 – 138,167 fraud and forgery offences were reported, down from 142,922 in the previous year, the ONS said. "[But] it is likely that this [decrease] does not reflect the real trend in this type of offence," it warned.
Fraud figures have represented "one of the more important gaps" in crime statistics, the ONS said.
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