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.