More than a third of small businesses in Northern Ireland which fell victim to a crime did not report it.
The Crime Against Small Businesses in Northern Ireland report, produced by Skills for Justice, also found that 68% of businesses which were victims of crime were victimised more than once, and 72% of victims said they had not put in place any additional security measures as a result of their experiences.
The report is based on the findings from a survey carried out by Ipsos-MORI Northern Ireland and the University of Central Lancashire in partnership with the Department of Justice, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Police and Community Safety Partnerships.
It surveyed 1,000 businesses with fewer than 50 employees from 26 district council areas of Northern Ireland on their experiences of crime.
Small business experience of crime in the past 12 months was relatively low, with only 160 respondents (16%) stating they had experienced crime. Theft (76%), criminal damage (31%) and fraud (14%) were the most common crimes experienced.
High levels of under-reporting of crime, particularly by businesses, mean that recorded crime figures may not reflect the true extent of crime in an area.
The study also found that businesses in neighbourhoods with an above average presence of single-person households, people renting their accommodation privately, and neighbourhoods dominated by flats and terraces are most prone to business crime.
Justice Minister David Ford said that the research identified a number of areas for action.