FIRMS in West Yorkshire have reported another rise in crime.
Figures from insurer AXA show that claims resulting from criminal activity accounted for almost 23% of all claims made by companies in the county during the third quarter of 2004.
That is almost 10% up on the previous quarter.
Only Nottinghamshire reported a higher proportion of crime-related claims at 26.8%.
Nationally, the percentage of claims for crimes against businesses during the third quarter fell by 7.4% to 15.8%.
But the average crime-related claim settlement rose by 10% to £3,722.
The most common types of crime included theft, malicious damage and arson.
Theft from business premises accounted for nearly 66% of claims, followed by malicious damage (28.3%) and arson (3.6%).
Other incidents included theft of goods in transit, robbery and forcible entry to business premises.
The figures follow a campaign by the Huddersfield-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce to highlight the impact of business crime.
The Aspley-based chamber is calling for business crime to be included among the police performance targets set by the Home Office.
A chamber survey last May showed that three out of five Kirklees firms were victims of crime in the previous 12 months.
AXA property insurance manager Neil Mercer said the UK figures suggested that crime against business was falling.
He said: "Many businesses are increasingly aware of the threat of crime and taking steps to protect themselves.
"But it is essential that this awareness continues.
"Every business should ensure that its property is secure before closing over Christmas and New Year. Criminals won't be taking time off."