Australian Institute of Criminology

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Weapon types and serious crime

Crime facts info no. 158

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, October 2007

The ABS reports on weapons use in serious offences. These include murder, attempted murder, kidnap/abduction and robbery, with robbery defined as occurring against persons and not organisations. The figure below shows that weapons were more likely to be used in the most serious offences of murder (64%) and attempted murder (73%) than in kidnapping (19%) and robbery (44%). In terms of type of weapons used, around one-third involved knives, while more firearms (25%) were used in attempted murders than in completed murder cases (17%). Relatively few weapons were used in kidnapping and abduction cases (19%) and just under half of all robberies involved a weapon (43%). In both crime types, knives are the most commonly used weapon and relatively few involve firearms - five percent for kidnap/abduction and seven percent for robbery. When the four categories of serious crime types are combined, the pattern of weapons involved mirrors that of robbery. This is because robbery is the high volume crime within this group accounting for 99 percent of all the offences.

Weapons used in serious crimes, 2006 (percent)

Source: ABS 2007