BUSINESSES must do more to combat crime, a meeting in Huddersfield has heard.
David Sykes, senior consultant with the Government-backed advice and support group Crime Concern, said many firms under-estimated the impact of crime on their operations.
And he urged them to promote the message of crime prevention among their employees.
Speaking the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Kirklees area council, Mr Sykes said: "Firms must get employees to recognise that crime against their company could cost them their jobs."
Mr Sykes, a former policeman in Huddersfield, said many businesses were now run by managers who did not live in the area or know the area well.
They were often ignorant of local patterns of crime, anti-social behaviour or vandalism which could affect their business.
He said Crime Concern was working with companies, local authorities, health authorities and the police to tackle crime and its causes.
Mr Sykes said: "Crime affects business in many ways.
"For example, if an employee is assaulted and off work, that has an impact on production and efficiency.
"A crime-hit area with burnt-out cars and vandalised buildings will deter new investors or new business ventures from locating there.
"Businesses are also targets for thieves seeking items like mobile phones to sell to fund drug habits."
The Aspley-based chamber is campaigning to get the Government to give business crime a higher priority.
The chamber has already called for business crime to be specifically listed in police performance targets.