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Businesses winning crime fight; Chamber initiative is working.

Byline: SOPHIE FREEMAN Business Staff

BUSINESSES in Liverpool are winning the battle against crime, according to research by insurance firm Axa.

Statistics from the third quarter of 2004 - the most recent period for which figures are available - placed Liverpool at position number three on the claims table.

This means that the city's businesses have the third lowest percentage of claims resulting from crime, just pipped at the post by Middlesborough and Newcastle.

Nottingham, Leeds and Birmingham were top of the poll with the highest percentage of insurance claims resulting from crime.

During July, August and September, Liverpool's rate stood at 13. 96%. This compares to a percentage of 14. 9% in the previous three months.

Over the past five years, more than 2, 000 businesses in Great Britain have been forced to close down due to criminal activity, but the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce says its Business Crime Direct (BCD) team is helping to reduce the effect of opportunistic crime on businesses in the city.

Over the last 12 months, the BCD's Crime Alert scheme has resulted in a 15% drop in retail crime in the city centre. And a similar scheme has seen a 17% fall in the total number of crimes on businesses in the North Shore area of the city.

The most notable decline in the area, which includes Great Howard Street, Pumpfields and the King Edward Industrial Estate, is in the incidence of burglary, down 41. 2%.

Incidents of arson and damage are down 38. 5%.

Robin McGrath, BCD manager, said: ``I think the key to our success is the fact that we take a far broader approach to tackling business related crime than simply working with businesses - we have also worked with community groups and schools to offer a more holistic solution to the problem. ''

The BCD team has now been nominated for a Neighbourhood Renewal Fund award by the Home Office North West's regional crime manager, under the category of ``Reducing Crime, Improving Community Safety and Improving Road Safety. ''
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 23, 2005
Words:335
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