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Minister urges greater effort to combat crime against business.

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Minister for Justice

Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Senator for South Australia



Thursday 18th June 1998




Minister for Justice, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today called f or a greater effort in tackling crime against business.


Senator Vanstone was speaking at a conference in Melbourne, Crime Against Business , organised by the Australian Institute of Criminology.


“Not only is there an enormous economic cost as a result of crime against business, but there is a very real human cost as well,” Senator Vanstone said.


“When crimes are committed against a person, there is a natural empathy for the victim. But that empathy isn’t there for crime against business because we see a business as sustaining no personal harm.


“But crime against business does cost us all - and dearly.


“On some estimates crime against business costs our community as much as $6.5 billion every year.


“Rather than simply passing on the cost of crime against business and accepting that insurance will cover losses, we also need to see businesses themselves taking a greater role in working in conjunction with the community, police and planners to combat the problem.


“Crime against business costs the whole community in higher prices and, in some cases, reduced availability of goods and services.


“Business which have been successful in thwarting crime have adopted specific measures aimed at crime prevention such as crime and safety audits involving local councils, planners and police; installing special lighting and security systems or hiring after-hours security guards.


“Other successful strategies include training staff to deal with violence and aggression; engaging youth workers to liaise with local youth and installing communications systems between shopkeepers in malls.”


Senator Vanstone said while there had been a strong community focus on crime over the past decade, the impact of crime against business has not had the attention it deserved.


“Almost 30% of businesses surveyed in 1992 had been burgled. In the same year, 4.2% of households had been burgled.


“This suggests that while we rightly focus considerable attention on neighbourhood and household crime, business bears the brunt of criminal activity.


“The impact of this can spread through communities, forcing some businesses, particularly smaller ones, into bankruptcy causing loss of jobs and loss of services in some communities.


“The human cost of crime against business is demonstrated by the threat - whether real or perceived - against individuals at the front line of businesses such as banks and service stations. This threat’ can be extremely debilitating and those affected directly by crimes such as armed robbery can suffer for many years or a lifetime.”


Minister available for interview through Kevin Donnellan 0419 400 078. Copies of the Minister’s speech are available on request