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Firearms theft in Australia : a six-month exploratory analysis

Technical and background paper no. 20

Jenny Mouzos and Yuka Sakurai
ISBN 0 642 53885 9 ISSN 1445-7261
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, February 2006

Abstract

In 1996, the Australasian Police Ministers' Council resolved that the Australian Institute of Criminology should establish the National Firearms Monitoring Program. The NFMP was created with the aim of building a knowledge base of firearms and their illegitimate use. The AIC has published several reports from this project, and the research has continued to inform the formulation of public policy in relation to firearms in Australia. This report summarises the exploratory findings from the analysis of firearms theft data provided by all jurisdictions in Australia during six months in 2004, using the firearms theft template. The purposes of this study were to: i) identify characteristics of firearms that are commonly stolen; ii) identify the nature of firearms theft in terms of time and location; iii) examine the way in which firearms theft is committed; and, iv) assess the rates of compliance with safe storage requirements and the prosecution of non-compliance. The findings outlined in this report provide useful insights into the emerging picture of firearms theft in Australia. This information is essential in assisting researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to: make well-informed strategic decisions; and, assess, modify and implement legislative reforms. It also highlights the importance of the continued collection of data on this issue, enabling the ongoing monitoring of trends and patterns of firearms theft in Australia over time and the identification of any changes. Such an ongoing policy response allows governments to respond in a timely and effective manner to any identified issues.