Firearms theft in Australia 2004-05


Supported by the Australasian Police Ministers' Council Firearms Policy Working Group, the Attorney-General's Department provided funding to the Australian Institute of Criminology to conduct a detailed examination of firearms theft in Australia. This report is the inaugural output of the newly established National Firearms Theft Monitoring Program. Firearms theft is important because firearms stolen from legitimate owners may re-emerge in the illegitimate market. The report summarises the findings of analyses of all incidents of firearm theft reported to Australian police forces during the one-year period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005. The report aims to: identify the characteristics of firearms that are commonly stolen; identify the characteristics and modus operandi of firearms thefts; and, assess the rate of compliance with safe storage requirements, and the prosecution of non-compliance. After a brief discussion of issues related to data collection and analytical methods, the main body of the report is organised into three parts: a discussion of the firearms stolen; an overview of the incidents in which those firearms were stolen; and a discussion in relation to compliance, repeat victimisation, stolen firearm recovery, and the use of stolen firearms in crime. These findings add to the knowledge base of the circumstances surrounding firearms theft, which will in turn assist the FPWG to develop evidence based policy, especially in: developing initiatives to reduce the incidence of firearms theft; and developing a minimum standard for firearms storage across all sectors of the firearms community.