WITH businesses being the victims of 20 per cent of crime, and with small companies being particularly vulnerable, local business leaders are urging the justice system not to go soft on criminals. Fifty-seven per cent of small businesses have been the victims of at least one crime in the past year, the Federation of Small Businesses says. Owners and staff are left traumatised and businesses can close, costing jobs, if repeated crimes are not tackled and stopped. Four out of 10 companies report crimes only to help with insurance claims, having no confidence that culprits will be caught and prosecuted. A recent FSB report urges the Home Office to abandon plans to remove the threat of a prison sentence from persistent shoplifters and to ensure fines are not only sufficiently high but that they are actually paid - over half of fines go unpaid. Huntingdonshire chairman Malcolm Lyons added: "The jobs and livelihoods of many of the 12 million people that work for small firms depend on the authorities getting their act together to tackle crimes against businesses.