Australian Institute of Criminology

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Storage arrangements for firearms at time of theft, 2005-06

Crime facts info no. 165

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 2008

A total of 1,445 firearms were reported stolen in Australia between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2006 in 634 incidents (Bricknell & Mouzos 2007). This was a decrease of 25 firearms and 31 incidents from the previous year. Of these incidents, just over one-half of the firearms had been stored in a firearm safe or other secure receptacle at the time of the theft (55%). In a further nine percent of incidents, the firearms were left in a vehicle and in seven percent they had been kept in a (usually) unlocked cupboard or wardrobe. Owners did not know where they had left their firearm in seven percent of incidents, and firearms were described as unsecured (i.e. no storage attempt had been made) in 12 percent of theft incidents. A sizeable proportion of incidents in which firearms were stored in vehicles could be classified as unsecured as well. Four in 10 such thefts were from an unlocked vehicle, and most had not been stored in a vehicle-based receptacle. In incidents involving multiple firearms, 83 percent of owners had complied with firearm storage requirements as compared to 53 percent of incidents that involved only a single firearm. Where the method of access was known for those firearms stored in a secure receptacle, access was obtained using tools in 26 percent of incidents, force in 37 percent and in 18 percent the key was located.

Location of firearms reported stolen in Australia, 2005-06 (percentage)

Note: Excludes six incidents where the type of storage for the firearm was recorded as not applicable

Source: AIC National Firearms Theft Monitoring Program 2005-06 [computer file]; n=634

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