Such threats may be more a matter of perception than reality. Simon Rowland, director of Veritas International Consultants, believes claims that economic activists are targeting business figures are overblown. He has seen a 30 per cent rise in business over the past year but mainly from wealthy individuals who are anxious about low-level crime. Yet as Pat Timlin
, president of Michael Stapleton Associates
, says: "At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Perception is real if it's you who feels threatened."