Australian Institute of Criminology

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Firearms theft

Crime facts info no. 31

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, August 2002

A report released by the Australian Institute of Criminology, "Firearms Theft in Australia", shows that 25,171 firearms were reported to police as stolen in Australia between 1994 and 2000. This equates to an average of 4,195 firearms stolen per year, or 12 firearms stolen per day. Rifles are the most common type of firearm stolen in Australia, accounting for 52 per cent of all thefts, followed by shotguns (21%) and handguns (14%). "Other firearms" account for 10 per cent of thefts (this category includes cases where the type of firearm was not included in the police report). The vast majority (81%) of firearms stolen throughout Australia were taken from residential premises. These data were collected as part of the National Firearms Monitoring Program, at the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Firearms stolen in Australia, 1994-95 to 1999-2000

*This includes the Peterborough incident in South Australia where approximately 600 handguns were stolen from one dealer.


  • Mouzos, J. 2002, "Firearms Theft in Australia", Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 230, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.