Australian Institute of Criminology

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Contract killings

Crime facts info no. 74

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2004

Joint research by the Australian Institute of Criminology and South Australia Police Major Crime Investigation Branch has examined 163 attempted and completed contract killings in Australia between the period 1 July 1989 and 30 June 2002. The research showed that the motive of the instigator varied between attempted and completed contract killings. The most common motive for attempted contract killings was the 'dissolution of a relationship' (n = 28) followed by 'money' (n = 17) and 'silencing of witnesses' (n = 17). Of the completed contract killings where the motive of the instigator was known, the most common motive was criminal networks (n = 15). In such cases, the murder is committed in the furtherance of a criminal enterprise or to facilitate criminal behaviour. Typically a killing is ordered in relation to organised crime, against a rival drug trafficker or member of an established criminal network to silence them from interfering with business.

Typology of contract killings (attempted and completed) in Australia



  • Mouzos J & Venditto J 2004. Contract killings in Australia Research and public policy series no 53 Australian Institute of Criminology Canberra