Halifax tops business crime hotspots

A surge in crime against Halifax businesses has put the town at the top of a national crime index, according to an insurer.

Claims records from AXA - which insures around 25 per cent of the UK’s small and medium businesses - saw Halifax rocket to the top of its business crime index from 57th position in 2010/11.

The town experienced the second highest climb in crime rates in the UK during June 2011 to end May 2012.

Worst-hit areas have seen business crime rises of around 16 per cent.

In terms of actual numbers of crimes against businesses, South West London is top followed by Leeds and Birmingham.

But, as overall numbers of business are also much higher in the big city areas, relative rates are lower keeping them out of the top 10.

Theft accounts for 74 per cent of the total volume with the average value of theft claims being nearly £4,000.

A spokesperson for AXA Business Insurance commented: “The reason Halifax is high on the table is based on the proportion of crime claims (versus the number of other insurance claims), though the total number of claims remains relatively low.

“It is impossible for us to comment in detail on individual areas.

“However, Halifax has in the past been high on the list so it is not a complete newcomer.

“Many of the worst hit areas are those that have been hit hard by recession and the latest Office for National Statistics figures (July 2012) showed Yorkshire as the second highest area of unemployment in the country.”

Police said crime was falling in Calderdale but would look into AXA’s findings.

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long said: “There has been a 16 per cent reduction in total crime recorded in Calderdale this year.

“The Force records business crime as burglary other and theft other. When comparing figures for 2011-12 with 2012-13, so far, there has been 93 less burglary other offences and 274 less theft other offences in Calderdale.

“However, we are naturally concerned that the Axa report considers Halifax as the number one hotspot for business crime and will be looking further into the findings.

“We recently appointed a Business Crime Reduction Officer to share intelligence on persistent offenders and to offer crime prevention advice.”

Steven Leigh, head of policy at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the figures were surprising.

“There are lots of premises with shutters, locks and CCTV and if these figures are correct then all businesses in Halifax need to be more vigilant than ever,” he said.

AXA’s top 10 areas for business crime: 1 Halifax, 2 Telford, 3 Oldham, 4 Luton, 5 Doncaster, 6 Dudley, 7 Wolverhampton, 8 Wigan, 9 Walsall, 10 Bolton.