SANTIAGO – A recently-published poll indicates a 50 percent jump in crimes against businesses in 2020. The most frequent reports were for petty theft.There was also an increase in violence and insecurity.
A new poll by the National Commerce House (CNC) indicates that there was a 50 percent increase in crimes against businesses during the second half of 2020, compared with the 2019 poll – and this despite the pandemic, lockdowns, and other restrictions that kept most businesses shuttered during that time period.
More than 49 percent of businesses claimed to be the victim of at least one crime within the last six months of 2020. The areas that reported the biggest increases in crime were:
- Valparaíso and Viña del Mar: 56 percent.
- Santiago: nearly 51 percent.
- Concepción and Talcahuano: 50 percent.
- Iquique: over 49 percent.
The crimes reported range in violence and percentages: from petty theft, with a percentage of 18.6; to non-violent theft, 17.5; to property damage, 15.7; to financial crime, 6.8; to vehicle accessories theft, 6.7; to violent theft, 5.8; to en route merchandising theft, 5.3; to looting, 4.4.
CNC is calling for new safety strategies when Chile reopens because the pandemic and related restrictions have hit small and medium-sized businesses especially hard, and because 57 percent of polled business owners said their neighborhoods are not safe enough or at all and 46 percent claimed that violence had increased in the last year.
CNC President Carlos Stange, commented in the official report that “even though businesses were not fully operational because of the quarantine and health restrictions, one out of two establishments that took part in the poll were crime victims. This is worrying in terms of what will happen when we can operate normally again.” He added that “many of the businesses we work with are in a catastrophic state, and would not be able to resist a new, criminal pandemic. We don’t just need to go back to work, we also need to be safe when we do it.”
Javiera is from Santiago de Chile, she is studying journalism at Universidad de Chile, since 2017 and doing her internship at Chile Today.