Firearm theft in Australia 2007-08


The National Firearm Theft Monitoring Program (NFTMP) was established at the Australian Institute of Criminology to monitor the number of firearms reported stolen in Australian states and territories and to examine the nature and characteristics of these thefts. This report represents the fourth in the NFTMP series and illustrates a consistency in the pattern of firearm thefts across Australia between 2004-05 and 2007-08. The total number of firearms reported stolen has remained below 2,000 during this period, with a noticeable increase occurring only in the most recent year. A total of 1,712 firearms, from 708 individual theft incidents, were reported stolen to police during 2007-08. Most of these thefts, as with previous years, netted one or two firearms apiece and were taken primarily from private residential premises, either from rooms within the residence or from sheds or garages. Rifles again proved to be the most common type of firearm stolen, followed by shotguns and Category A and B firearms predominated in the stolen pool. The majority of these firearms were registered at the time of their theft and most owners reporting a theft held the mandatory licence for the firearms reported stolen. Nonetheless, many owners continued to demonstrate carelessness or negligence in securing unattended firearms, leaving them in unlocked or easily penetrated storage arrangements or making no perceived effort to conceal or safeguard the firearm at all.