Crime soars in desperate times

Incidents of arson in business premises spiked 23% last year, marking a rise in crime that is likely related to the recession.

Axa reported the figure in its fifth annual Business Crime Index, which showed that business crime rates went up by 10%. In addition, malicious damage crimes increased 14% and forcible theft increased by 13%, affecting 4% of businesses.

The only crime figure to drop was non-forcible theft, which decreased by 15%.

Gregor Elrick, head of property at Axa, said: "We are

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