Companies must play their part in fighting business crime through sharing information and better training, a top-level meeting of politicians, police and business people heard.
Businesses that failed to report crime were helping to create a false impression of the true extent of the problem, a Black Country Chamber of Commerce "crime summit" was told.
The summit was attended by Wolverhampton's three MPs, the city council chief executive, senior police officers and representatives of the local business community. The event, held at the Bilash restaurant, was chaired by Bhanu Dhir, the Chamber's Wolverhampton president.
Supt Sally Bourner, West Midlands Police operations manager for Wolverhampton East, told the meeting: "We cannot deliver policing without the support of local people and partners. We all have a role to play in making Wolverhampton a safer city."
David Swingwood, chairman of the Wolverhampton Business Crime Taskforce, said businesses were often discouraged from reporting crime because of the amount of time it would take to give statements and complete reports and because there was a feeling that any goods stolen would never be recovered.
But Richard Carr, chief executive of Wolverhampton City Council, said: "Reporting is important because it is not just the police who use the crime statistics – partners like the city council also need them. Crime reporting informs the decisions we take."
However, he warned of the dangers of creating a negative image of Wolverhampton.
"We want to promote Wolverhampton as an attractive place to locate. If we all jump on the bandwagon that Wolverhampton is a bad place to be, it undermines our credibility. The reality is that business crime is falling, but that is not reflected in the public perception."
Chamber member Manjit Southi said the police needed to be aware of new trends in crime, particularly the threat of kidnapping faced by many in the Asian business community.
Paul Birch, managing director of Revolver Records, urged the police and local authority to take a stronger line on DVD piracy, which was a major threat to his industry.
Les Orme, operations director of Willenhall brake manufacturer Clydesdale Jones, said his company had suffered several raids, mainly by travellers who camped illegally on their land.
"We have adopted a siege mentality now," he said. "We have paid for concrete blocks and other security measures, but what we want to see is the courts supporting us by giving out realistic sentences – six months should mean six months."
Pat McFadden MP (Wolverhampton SE) said: "These stories are typical of what we as MPs have been hearing for some time."
George Munro of Black Country Chamber said: "Crime may be falling, but business crime is perceived as victimless, which it is not.
"We want to encourage all businesses to talk about crime to make sure the police and politicians understand the real extent and depth of the problem."