Australian Institute of Criminology

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Reduction in the number of armed robberies

Media Release

12 July 2006

The Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Dr Toni Makkai, today released the results from the Australian Government's most recent report from the National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program (NARMP), 2004 National armed robbery monitoring program annual report.

'This report shows an overall decrease in the number of armed robberies in 2004, compared with the previous year', Dr Makkai said.

'Armed robbery is both a property crime and a crime of violence and can have serious psychological effects on the victim,' Dr Makkai said.

A wide array of small businesses were organisational victims. These included: service stations (22%), licensed premises (11%) and 31 percent as unspecified retail premises. 'Greater understanding of this crime through the analysis of data may assist potential victims to develop strategies to minimise their risk of attack,' Dr Makkai said.

The NARMP began collecting data on armed robbery in 2003 with the assistance of police services in all Australian states to identify factors driving trends in armed robbery.

Analyses of the 2004 data shows:

  • knives made up half of the weapons listed as involved in victimisations; firearms were involved in 15 percent of robberies - a smaller proportion of firearms compared with 2003
  • seventy percent of robberies involved only a single armed robber
  • males made up nearly three-quarters of all individuals victimised, and around two-thirds of male victims were aged less than 30 years of age.

As was found in 2003 armed robberies appear to span a continuum from:

  • low-yield, unplanned and essentially opportunistic, using easily obtained weapons, such as street robberies or in locations such as service stations, to
  • high-gain, using weapons that were more difficult to obtain, occurring in certain retail sites.

Because of the perceived increase in the number of armed robberies at licensed premises this year's report includes a detailed analysis of armed robberies at clubs and hotels. The findings indicate these robberies were more organised and seek higher gains. The offenders tended to be older, to act in groups and to use firearms, especially handguns. Most robberies took place during the night time/early hours of the morning.