This paper draws on data from the Small Business Crime Survey conducted in 1999 by the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Council of Small Business Organizations of Australia to identify the extent and types of crime reported to police that occur against retail businesses, and to investigate why some crimes go unreported.
It is accepted that crimes which are reported to the police may under-represent levels and patterns of crime occurring in the community. With many crimes going unreported to the police, it becomes difficult to get an accurate picture of crime and information that is obtained may be biased. In addition, due to the increasing rates of victimization against small businesses, research which has been minimal on small businesses’ crime reporting is taking a foothold. Previous research indicates that a large number of crimes committed against businesses go unreported to police. Drawing on data from the Small Business Crime Survey conducted jointly in 1999 by the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Council of Small Business Organizations of Australia, this paper identifies the extent and type of crime reported to police occurring against retail businesses and investigates the reasons why crimes go unreported. The findings are based on responses from 3,834 small retail businesses which covered 6 retail sectors. Findings revealed that reporting behavior of small retail businesses varied as a function of the type of crime and whether the crime was attempted or completed. Because burglary and robbery are so frequently reported, they tend to be over-represented in police crime data compared with shoplifting and employee theft which are significantly under-represented. The reasons for non-reporting varied and depended on the type of crime in question, whether it was completed or attempted, as well as other factors. They commonly reflected a pessimistic belief that reporting crime was pointless and achieved nothing. Reporting needs to be encouraged, however, research must be conducted to unravel the complex nature of reporting behavior. References
Australian Institute of Criminology
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Australian Institute of Criminology Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 242