By Aimee Chanthadavong

An ADT Security small business security survey has revealed that 82 per cent of small businesses suffer due to crime.

Pure Profile, on behalf of ADT Security, surveyed 500 Australian small business owners during June to July 2010 and found that a majority suffer financially as a result of crime, with 43 per cent of owners estimating their losses total up to $10,000.

ADT Security managing director Mark Norton told Retailbiz that small businesses are often easy targets.

“Small businesses are often viewed as easy targets as they may not make the same investment in security measures as larger businesses do and generally have less staff on the shop floor to keep an eye on things,” he said.

The lock and key is still found to be the main security device for 85 per cent of respondents followed by an alarm system (51 per cent), CCTV (29 per cent) and window bars (28 per cent).

According Norton, it was surprising to discover that many small business owners didn’t do more to protect themselves, despite that an alarm system is regarded as the most effective security measure.

“The difference an alarm system can make is huge. When a lock is compromised, there is no sound and a burglar can move around the premises for as long as they like, taking what they want and in some cases, vandalising the property,” he said.

“With an alarm system, the sound alone can scare off some perpetrators or at least hamper their efforts once inside, but the key benefit is that it alerts neighbours and passersby that the building has been compromised.

“Now the problem which still arises is that the vast majority of people may not respond if they hear an alarm. They might take note of the time or momentarily glance over, but very few will investigate further. This is why having a monitored alarm is so important.”

Age also plays a part in the perceived importance of 24/7 video surveillance with nearly half of Generation Y business owners seeing it as crucial (48 per cent) compared to 45 per cent of Gen X, 37 per cent of Baby Boomers and 19 per cent of Builders.

“Across the board younger generations thought security measures were more important than their older counterparts. This could say as much about the types of small businesses they own/manage as it does about their awareness levels of more advanced security technologies,” Norton said.

“For the retailer, effective video surveillance not only helps capture shoplifters in the process of stealing but allows them to track exactly what product was sold to what customer and by which member of staff, providing a powerful tool for combating employee theft.”

The survey also found that 64 per cent of small businesses have been a victim of crime more than once and that stolen goods attributed to 82 per cent of the financial losses.