Australian Institute of Criminology

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Key Findings

Long-term trends in armed robbery

Individual persons make up the majority of reported victims of armed robbery. The proportion of victims each year flagged as individuals has remained fairly constant since the inception of NARMP, ranging between 70 and 75 percent of all victims recorded for that year (see Figure 1).

The overall number of victims reported annually and recorded in NARMP has, however, declined since 2003—victim numbers decreased by 36 percent from 2003 (n=8,865), to 5,713 in 2010 (see Figure 1). This reflects general trends seen in most other crime categories in Australia (eg see AIC 2012) and overseas. For instance, there was a 13.4 percent decrease in estimates of the numbers of violent crimes in the United States between 2001 and 2010 (FBI 2011).

Figure 1 Armed robbery victims by year, 2003–10 (n)

Armed robbery victims by year

n=55,810. Excludes victims not categorised as either an individual or an organisation

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Figure 2 Armed robbery victimisation by year, 2003–10 (rate per 100,000 persons)

Armed robbery victimisation by year

Includes only person victims. Rate derived from Time Series Spreadsheets Table 4 ABS 2011a

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Not surprisingly, this same general downward trend can be observed in the rate of victimisation—a decline from 33 persons per 100,000 in 2003, to 18 per 100,000 in 2010 (see Figure 2). Similarly, the number of incidents in which these victims were involved has decreased over time to a low of 5,022 in 2010; a 24 percent decrease from the high seen in 2006 (n=6,640; see Figure 3).

Armed robbery locations

Contrary to popular perceptions, most robberies were not carried out in high-profit locations such as banks. Less than two percent of incidents each year took place in banking and related financial locations. Regardless of reporting year, armed robberies carried out on the street or footpath were the most common (ranging between 30% and 35% of all robbery incidents each year), followed by those occurring in unspecified retail locations (ie locations where the nature of the retail activity is not specified; between 16% & 19% of all robberies annually). As shown in Figure 4, incident numbers in various locations have generally decreased over time, especially relative to the higher counts seen 2006. A notable exception to this pattern is armed robbery in licensed premises, where the 370 incidents recorded in 2010 represent a 20 percent increase on those numbers observed in 2004 (n=309).

Figure 3 Armed robbery incidents by year, 2004–10 (n)

Armed robbery incidents by year

Note: n=40,627

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2004–10 [computer file]

Figure 4 Selected armed robbery locations by year, 2004–10 (n)

Selected armed robbery locations

Note: n=36,927. Excludes incidents in wholesalers, administrative and professional, other community, open spaces and recreational locations, and incidents for which location was missing or not specified

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Weapons used to commit armed robbery

NARMP was established, in part, to observe trends in weapon use. Data showing patterns of weapon use in armed robbery have remained relatively constant over time (see Figure 5). Knives were the most serious weapon used in over half of all incidents (57% overall, ranging between 53% and 61% depending on year). Nor has the percentage of firearms used changed substantially over that same timeframe. Sixteen percent of all incidents over the seven year period involved a firearm, with a low of 13 percent in 2005 (n=758) and a high of 18 percent in 2010 (n=825). Syringe robberies comprise only a small minority of cases, with an average of four percent across all years (ranging from 3% to 6%).

The other weapon category applies to around one-quarter of total incidents (24%; varying between 20% and 26%). It captures a broad range of items, some of which could be considered more serious than syringes insofar as they may be capable of inflicting greater damage or injury, or inducing greater fear (eg bows, spearguns, machetes or axes). Detailed weapon information indicates that some everyday items not necessarily thought of as weapons are nonetheless used to commit robbery. These include crowbars or metal pipes (17% of all other weapon incidents) and bottles or broken glass (13%). In 2004, crowbars and pipes were listed in 27 percent of other weapon incidents but in 2010, they were the most serious weapon used in only 13 percent of other weapon robberies. Thus, it appears that there has been some variation in the use of these other weapons over time. However, it is difficult to draw strong conclusions regarding this other weapon category, as coding practices within jurisdictions means variables are not necessarily consistently recorded and extracted at the lowest possible level (eg a metal pipe may have been recorded as ‘other weapon’ in one calendar year, but as a ‘pipe’ in a later year). This caveat also applied to the variables relating to location and stolen property, both discussed later in this report.

Figure 5 Weapons used in armed robbery by year, 2004–10 (n)

Weapons used in armed robbery

Note: n=37,479. Excludes incidents for which weapon(s) were missing or not specified. Based on most serious weapon listed for incident, ranked in order of seriousness (firearm, knife, syringe, other weapon)

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Victims and offenders in recent armed robberies

In the following section, the characteristics of recent armed robberies are explored in detail. In this context, ‘recent’ is defined as occurring in the calendar years of 2009 and 2010. There were a total of 10,409 incidents (2009 n=5,387; 2010 n=5,022) for which partial or complete records were available, for a total of 12,005 valid partial or complete cases of victims of armed robbery reported to police (n= 6,274 in 2009; n=5,731 in 2010).

As already noted, the victims recorded in NARMP are defined as the individual or organisation whose property has been targeted. This means that while armed robbery is both a property offence and an offence against the person (a violent crime), it can be committed against an organisation, through property ownership. The majority of reported armed robbery victims in Australia are individuals (see Figure 1) and this was also the case in 2009–10 (72%, or 8,580; see Figure 6).

Figure 6 Victims of armed robbery, 2009–10 (%)

Victims of armed robbery

Note: n=11,977. Excludes victims where type was not specified

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Victims robbed on multiple occasions

Some victims are subjected to repeated armed robberies because of their characteristics—agency operating hours, business location or layout; or in the case of some individual victims, the nature of their employment. An initial attack can also provide offenders with useful knowledge about a target (eg location of money safe) that can assist the offender in subsequent crimes against that same target (see Weisel 2005). There is no capacity to explore repeat victimisation over the long term within NARMP because of the victim identifier codes employed by some police jurisdictions. These non-name codes make it impossible to identify who victims are across years. However, some jurisdictions provide this identifier information in a form that allows for an examination of victims robbed repeatedly within the same calendar. As this identifying information is not available for all victims, it should be noted that the determination of repeat victimisation undertaken here is likely to be an underestimation.

In 2009 and 2010 datasets, 158 repeat victims were identified and were reported to be involved in 337 different incidents. Seventeen of these victims were robbed on more than two occasions in the calendar year examined. On average, the first and second armed robberies were 76 days apart (with a median of 48.5 days), although the time elapsed between the first and second armed robberies ranged from zero days (ie victimised multiple times on the same day) to 319 days. This is counter to earlier research, which typically shows that follow-up victimisation often occurs very quickly after the initial attack (eg Pease 1998), although recording limitations within NARMP may account for this difference.

Nine out of every 10 of the repeat victims (90%) were flagged as organisations, even though organisational victims were in the minority of all armed robberies. The locations in which the majority of these organisational repeat victims were robbed were service stations and licensed premises (each 28% of all organisational repeat victims), unspecified retailers (23%) and pharmacies and corner or convenience stores and takeaways (each 8%).

In contrast to the overall picture of armed robbery, only a small minority of repeat victims were robbed on the street and footpath (3% of organisational repeat victims; 5% when considering both individuals and organisations repeatedly robbed). Furthermore, repeat organisational victims appeared subject to a higher proportion of firearm attacks—28 percent of first attacks and 19 percent of second attacks were with a firearm (as discussed below, only 16% of victims in 2009 and 2010 were involved in incidents where the most serious weapon used was a firearm).

Figure 7 Age group and gender of individual armed robbery victims, 2009–10 (%)

Victims of armed robbery

Note: n=8,525. Excludes victims without age and gender information

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Box 2: Offenders included in NARMP

NARMP is not a live database. Data describing all reports during the calendar year in question are received by the AIC once a year. Victim records are extracted by police and forwarded at some point during the 12 months after the calendar year in question. Once records are received by the AIC, they are not updated.

If victim and created incident cases include offender information, this indicates that at the time data were extracted from jurisdictional administrative systems, offenders had been apprehended and proceeded against in some way. Descriptions of suspects are not included and if records are empty of perpetrator information, it is because the offenders had not been apprehended by the time data were extracted, or in a minority of cases, the matter had been cleared without any offender proceedings.

Information concerning armed offenders was available for only 4,094 recent incidents (the majority of incidents, or 61%, did not contain offender details). Armed robbery can involve multiple offenders and data fully or partially describing 6,356 offenders were linked to these recent incidents. Any discussion of offenders in this report relates only to these apprehended individuals. By extension, any discussion of offender groups is based on counts of offenders linked to an incident, not the unconfirmed number of alleged offenders detailed in victim/witness statements provided to police. These qualifications mean that discussion is limited to those individuals examined and cannot describe all armed robbery offenders in Australia.

Related variables derived from NARMP, such as clearance rates, are only broadly indicative of clearance at some time potentially up to two years after the armed robbery in question. Data suggest that matters relating to around one-third (almost 32%) of victims in recent robberies were not finalised at the time of data extraction. A further third (30%) were finalised but without an offender being proceeded against and the remainder (38%) were finalised with an offender proceeded against in some way (eg arrest, diversion, caution or some other court proceedings). These percentages appeared to vary with victim type, so that the matters relating to 45 percent of organisational victims were finalised with an offender proceeded against compared with 36 percent of matters relating to individual victims.

Demographic characteristics of individuals involved in armed robberies

Six in 10 individuals victimised in 2009–10 were males aged from 15 to 39 years old (60%), consistent with observations in earlier NARMP reports (see Figure 7). Females comprised less than one-quarter of all individual victims and like male victims, the majority (65%) were aged between 15 and 39 years.

Males aged from 15 to 39 years also comprised the majority (80%; see Figure 8) of those offenders linked to recent armed robberies (but not of all offenders actually involved in all recent incidents—see Box 2). While juvenile and adult female offenders were a minority (10%) of the armed robbers described in the NARMP 2009–10, most of the females were also aged from 15 to 39 years (82%).

Figure 8 Age and gender of offenders, 2009–10 (%)

Age and gender of offenders

Note: n=6,347. Excludes offenders without age and gender information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Basic victim and (apprehended) offender demographic profiles were broadly similar. The majority of each group was male (see Figures 7 and 8) and most were under 40 years (with less than 10% of each group under 15 years; see Figure 9). Victim and offender demographics, however, were not identical.

Around four in 10 offenders were older teenagers (42% or 2,667 were 15 to 19 years of age), with the average age of an offender being 22.9 years. By contrast, only half the proportion of victims were within this same 15–19 year age group (21%, or 1,778), with the average age of victims much older at 30 years. Profiles also diverged when considering later adulthood. Less than one percent of offenders were aged 50 years or over, whereas just over one in 10 victims fell into this age group (11%; see Figure 9). However, when taking population into account, older individuals were still victimised at a much lower rate than younger people (see Table 1).

Criminal desistance (or the cessation of offending with age) has been observed across most crime categories and is the most likely explanation for the relative youth of offenders when compared with victims. Devers (2011: 11), in her review of desistance and development, noted that ‘eventually, the vast majority criminals will desist from crime’. Similarly, other Australian data show that most types of offending in Australia decreases as offenders age. In 2009–10, the offender rate across all major crime categories among 15 to 19 year olds was 5,844 per 100,000, compared with a rate of 747 per 100,000 among 50 to 54 year olds. When considering only the offence category of robbery and extortion, rates were 116 and three per 100,000 respectively (ABS 2012b).

Box 3: Offenders and the victims they target

The VALUE acronym (Monk, Heinonen & Eck 2010) refers to:

V—how vulnerable a target may be, with offenders preferring easily subdued or intimidated targets;

A—victim is attractive to that specific offender, based on certain characteristics;

L—victim lacks awareness of surrounds, making the victim easier to overpower;

U—uncomplicated completion of the attack; and

E—escapable robbery, with victims unlikely to resist.

As discussed below, armed robbery offenders are typically unknown to victims and individuals are most likely selected by offenders because of visible attributes that make them appear worthwhile targets. Monk, Heinonen and Eck (2010) outlined some victim characteristics that can contribute to offenders targeting particular street robbery victims. Using the acronym VALUE, these authors suggested that offenders are likely to consider a package of characteristics, including how vulnerable targets might be (ie intimidated, subdued or overpowered; see Box 3), citing senior citizens as examples of vulnerable individuals. While adults over 50 years of age are certainly a minority of all armed robbery victims, their perceived vulnerability also might, in part, account for why age profiles for victims and offenders diverge in later life.

Figure 9 Age groups of victims and offenders, 2009–10 (%)

Age groups of victims and offenders

Note: Victims n=8,525. Offenders n=6,347. Excludes victims and offenders without age information

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10; incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Table 1 Rate of victimisation by sex and age group, 2009 —10 (per 100,000)
2009 2010
Males Females Total Males Females Total
Age group (yrs)
Under 15 7 1 4 6 1 3
15–19 100 23 63 93 16 56
20–24 98 23 62 88 21 55
25–29 69 17 44 58 19 38
30–34 35 11 23 37 10 24
35–39 24 10 17 27 10 19
40–44 19 10 15 19 9 14
45–49 23 10 16 19 9 14
50–54 18 9 14 16 8 12
55–59 14 7 11 11 6 9
60–64 9 5 7 11 4 7
65 & over 5 2 3 3 2 3
Total 31 9 20 29 8 18

Note: n=8,525. Includes only individual victims. Excludes victims without age and gender information. Rate derived from Tables 7 and 8 Population by Age and Sex Data Cube ABS 2010a

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Armed robbery offenders are typically unknown to their victims. Only 10 percent (n=387; see Figure 10) of recent victim records in NARMP, where relevant information was provided, recorded some form of victim–offender relationship prior to the incident. In this respect, armed robbery differs to other violent crimes where victims and offenders are often known to each other prior to the criminal event. For example, for crimes such as homicide and sexual assault, the majority of victims and their offenders were known to each other in most reporting Australian jurisdictions in 2011 (eg ABS 2012a).

Figure 10 Relationship between offender and victim, 2009–10 (%)

Relationship between offender and victim

Note: n=3,836. Excludes victims without relationship information. Victims can have relationships with multiple offenders; therefore, total relationships exceeds number of victim cases with valid relationship information

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Offender groups

Sixty-five percent (n=2,642) of incident cases containing offender information listed only one attacker. Less than one-quarter (22%; n=920) listed two offenders (pairs), eight percent (n=331) listed three offenders (trios) and three percent (n=124) listed four offenders. Only two percent listed five or more offenders (n=77).

However, as a large proportion of incidents in the dataset do not contain any offender information (61%; n=6,315), accurate offender counts could not be calculated. These cases have been coded as ‘no offender information’. Information regarding offenders was more often recorded for incidents involving organisational victims than for those armed robberies involving only individual victims (see Figure 11). Further, derived offender counts suggest higher proportions of organisational victims were robbed by lone offenders rather than groups, when compared with individual victims (either alone or in groups).

Apparent differences in the number of offenders associated with the different types of victim may simply be an artefact of NARMP recording practices regarding offenders (see Box 2). However, if these data do reflect real differences in armed robbery, a variety of factors could explain this observation. For instance, individual victims may not be able to generate the same level of identifying evidence as organisational victims. Organisations are potentially able to provide investigating officers with material such as CCTV footage, which individuals may not have access to and this may permit faster clearance of the offence so that this clearance information is captured when NARMP data are compiled. Unfortunately, the NARMP dataset does not contain information about investigations (beyond clearance) or about the security surrounding incidents, so these factors cannot be assessed through the program.

Figure 11 Number of offenders by types of victim involved in armed robbery incidents, 2009–10 (%)

Number of offenders by types of victim involved in armed robbery incidents

a: Incidents where offender had not been apprehended at data extraction, or annotated as no offender proceeded against

b: Incident involved both individual and organisational victims

Note: n=10,389. Excludes incidents where victim type was not specified

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Mindful of the limitations surrounding offender information and the fact that regardless of age, offenders tended more often to act alone, NARMP data suggest that younger offenders appear more likely to operate in groups compared with older offenders (see Figure 12). Detailed examination of offender age and gender data showed that over 40 percent each of the recent armed robberies involving young males (under 18 years; n=779) and young females (n=78) were carried out by offender groups of two or more. When examining groups comprising offenders of various ages in detail (the ‘mixed age’ armed robbery incidents shown in Figure 12), 82 percent of groups of solely male mixed age offender groups, 79 percent of solely female mixed age groups and 60 percent of mixed groups involving males and females had at least one member who was aged less than 18 years. Further, the average age of lone offenders was older than that of offender groups. The average age when considering groups of five offenders was 18.7 years, compared with 26.2 years for armed robbers acting alone.

Figure 12 Number of offenders involved in armed robbery by offender age groups, 2009–10 (%)

armed robbery by offender age groups

Note: n=4,091. Excludes offenders without age and gender information, and incidents without offender information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Even at this simple level of analysis, the data suggest qualitatively different types of armed robbery. At a minimum, it appears there is a subset of robberies carried out by groups of young people. A study from the United Kingdom found that personal robbery (mugging) was primarily a younger persons’ offence (over half of all offenders were aged between 16 and 20 years), perpetrated in groups (60% involved groups of 2 or more offenders) and occurring in largely open and public locations (40% in the street or public transport; see Smith 2003).

Closer inspection of recent Australian armed robberies shows that three out of five armed robberies (61%) carried out by groups of young people (less than 18 years) similarly took place in the street, in open spaces or in public transport locations. Examined from a slightly different perspective, of those incidents involving five offenders, 45 percent (n=34) took place in the street and the average age of these offenders was 18.1 years. NARMP does not contain information about offender motivation but these young people may operate together because of a group’s greater capacity to intimidate and because of the security found in numbers. A recent US study that asked incarcerated adult armed robbers about their offending reported that some offenders operated with accomplices because this also helped to depersonalise the confrontation with victims (Alarid, Burton & Hochstetler 2008).

Figure 13 Armed robbery by location, 2009–10 (n)

Armed robbery by location

Note: n=10,398

Source: NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

By contrast, those armed robberies carried out by lone adults over 35 years of age took place in commercial locations in over two-thirds of cases (71%). The average age of lone offenders operating in commercial locations ranged from 27.6 years in licensed premises to 33.8 years in banking and financial settings. This suggests another armed robbery type, where older offenders target potentially more lucrative locations. Older offenders are perhaps more aware of the risks inherent in operating in large groups and so choose to act alone.

An earlier examination of Australian armed robberies identified three scenarios (types) of the offence—opportunistic street muggings, amateur retail armed robbery and professional armed robbery (Mouzos & Borzycki 2003). There is some congruence between the first two scenarios and the street muggings and commercial robberies suggested in current data. However, the qualitative aspects that could potentially assist in more clearly classifying types of robbery (such as the use of overt violence, offender modus operandi and level of planning as demonstrated in disguises) are not currently available within the NARMP dataset.

Figure 14 Types of armed robbery victims, by incident location, 20092–10 (n)

Types of armed robbery victims, by incident location

Note: n=10,378. Excludes incidents without location or victim type information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Physical aspects of recent armed robbery incidents

Where did armed robberies occur?

Half of armed robberies in 2009 and 2010 occurred either on the street or footpath (n=3,427 or 33%) or at retailers where the nature of the business was not specified (n=1,743 or 17%; see Figure 13). As already noted, data indicate that the number of armed robberies taking place at licensed premises has increased since the inception of NARMP. In 2009 and 2010, this location accounted for seven percent of incidents (n=705); a similar percentage to that seen for service stations (8%; n=796).

Earlier monitoring reports described incidents taking place in the categories of ‘newsagents and post offices’ and ‘corner stores’ (incorporating supermarkets and takeaway food outlets). These locations have been treated separately in the analyses of recent armed robberies in this report. These new categories contain relatively few cases and combined, they account for less than 10 percent of incidents. However, newsagents, convenience stores and takeaway food outlets are locations of interest insofar as they represent retail enterprises that have the potential for high cash turnover and ‘unsociable’ operating hours, and so can be seen as potentially attractive targets for robbery. These locations will continue to be specifically monitored in the future to explore whether the suggested downward trend seen in armed robbery generally is uniformly mirrored in specific locations.

Different types of victims are robbed in different locations. For instance, nearly all incidents taking place on the street or footpath, in recreational settings (both 97%) or in transport settings (99%) involve one or more individual victims. By contrast, 76 percent of bank robberies, 74 percent of service station robberies and 80 percent of armed robberies in licensed premises involved an organisational victim (see Figure 14). These data are not surprising as presumably, certain locations are targeted precisely because the businesses that operate there are likely to hold items attractive to offenders.

Figure 15 Time of day of armed robbery by location, 2009–10 (n)

ime of day of armed robbery by location

Note: n=10,398. Excludes incidents without location or day information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

When did armed robberies take place?

Recent armed robberies were predominantly night-time events; two-thirds of all recent incidents (n=6,932 or 67%) took place between the hours of 6:00 pm and 5:59 am, although this was not true of all locations (see Figure 15). Over 90 percent of armed robberies in both banking locations and in post offices took place in the daytime hours (between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm), reflecting the hours of operation of these businesses. The pattern was reversed for those taking place on the street, licensed premises or service stations, where at least 75 percent of armed robberies took place in night-time hours.

Figure 16 Day of the week of armed robbery by location, 2009–10 (n)

Day of the week of armed robbery

Note: n=10,398. Excludes incidents without location or day information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Around one-third of all armed robberies (n=3,344; 32%) occurred on a Saturday or Sunday, but this too was not uniform across all locations (see Figure 16); locations with traditional business days, such as post offices, administrative or professional offices and warehouses were less frequently robbed on weekends. The concentration of armed robbery at the close of the working week was further highlighted when the definition of ‘weekend’ was expanded to capture the period spanning 6:00 pm Friday to 5:59 am Monday—41 percent of all incidents (n=4,232) were reported as occurring within this timeframe.

Relative to other times during the week, a disproportionate number of recent armed robberies occurred between midnight and 5:59 am on Saturdays and Sundays (n=1,027; see Figure 17). Armed robberies during these times accounted for 10 percent of all incidents. One-fifth of all early morning armed robberies that took place on the weekend were perpetrated against an organisational victim. Of these organisational victims, 38 percent (n=77) took place in a service station, 27 percent (n=56) in an unspecified retail location and 17 percent (n=34) in licensed premises. A sizeable proportion of early weekend morning armed robberies could be characterised as muggings (for these purposes defined as apparently opportunistic street robberies of individuals): four-fifths were attacks against individual victims (66% against lone persons and 14% against 2 or more persons). Over half of all these armed robberies took place on the street or footpath (62%), with eight percent occurring in transport-related locations. Ninety-four percent of street armed robberies occurring during these hours were perpetrated with a knife or some ‘other weapon’.

Figure 17 Time and day of armed robbery, 2009–10 (n)

Time and day of armed robbery

Note: n=10,403. Excludes incidents without time or day information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Despite a clustering of armed robberies during weekend hours, most armed robberies nonetheless occurred during the week (Monday to Friday; 67%). As with other aspects of robbery, there was some variation depending on the type of victim. When considering individual victims, only 21 percent of armed robberies occurring on a given weekday happened between the hours of midnight and 6 am. The equivalent figure for both Saturday and Sunday nights was 36 percent (see Figure 18). Findings from earlier investigations of NARMP (eg Smith & Louis 2010) have couched these findings within routine activity theory (see Cohen & Felson 1979). Within this framework, the opportunity for early morning weekend armed robberies increases as more individuals frequent relatively unguarded areas while they socialise in and around night-time entertainment areas.

Similar to individual victims, organisational victims were mainly robbed outside of standard business hours (see Figure 19). Organisational victimisation patterns stayed fairly consistent across the days of the week, with the largest proportion victimised each day between the hours of 6 pm and midnight. This time period presumably captures business closing periods. Retailers may be especially vulnerable during this time as closing procedures often involve the movement of large amounts of cash from the till to safes (or from safes offsite), making the business an attractive target. Further, there may be fewer clients and staff on the premises at this time and therefore ‘guardians’ become fewer, potentially increasing the risk of armed robbery.

An examination of robbery frequency by location during and outside of these hours showed that relative to other locations, retailers were robbed as frequently inside and outside of this period, as were service stations. However, relative to other locations, licensed premises were robbed more often during this time (9% of robberies during this time period, compared with 5% during other times), but this may reflect the later operating hours of licensed premises generally rather than business closure per se. NARMP data are not sufficiently detailed to test whether end of day closure is a particularly vulnerable time for reporting businesses—the types of businesses contained within the large generic retail category vary widely and presumably so do the specific business operating hours, which are not currently recorded within the data collection.

Figure 18 Individual victims of armed robbery by day of the week and time of day, 2009–10 (n)

Individual victims of armed robbery by day of the week and time of day

Note: n=7,001. Excludes incidents without day and time information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Figure 19 Organisational victims of armed robbery by day of the week and time of day, 2009–10 (n)

Organisational victims of armed robbery by day of the week and time of day

Note: n=3,382. Excludes incidents without day and time information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Offenders and specific locations

Nearly one-half of recent incidents involving exclusively male, exclusively female or mixed gender offender groups occurred either on the street/footpath (24% of male, 28% female and 27% mixed) or in unspecified retail venues (20% of males, 21% of females and 17% of mixed gender groups; see Figure 20). Gender-based differences in location were suggested; however, the very small numbers of exclusively female and mixed gender incidents means some location by gender categories are likely to be highly variable over time. Mindful of this caveat, there is the suggestion that when compared with female offenders, a greater percentage of incidents involving only male offenders took place in service stations (10% cf 6% of female armed robberies) and licensed premises (7% cf 2% of female-only incidents). Conversely, 11 percent of female-only incidents were in transport locations, compared with seven percent of male-only armed robberies.

Armed robbery is not a homogenous crime. Armed offenders target certain victims after considering a variety of features and the opportunities for this crime to take place are not equally distributed across all locations. Recent NARMP location data also broadly suggest a convergence of some offender characteristics with location type, further suggesting discernible armed robbery ‘types’.

Figure 20 Armed robbery offenders by location and gender, 2009–10 (n)

Armed robbery offenders by location and gender

Note: Excludes incidents without location and offender information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Some locations were associated with higher proportions of victimisation by young offenders. For instance, 62 percent (n=53) of armed robberies that occurred in a recreational location involved an offender who was under the age of 18 years. Young offenders also targeted transport locations (n=136), open spaces (n=11) and the street/footpath in similar, sizeable proportions (n=436; ranging between 43% and 45% of incidents in each location).

By contrast, older offenders (those aged greater than 35 years) tended to be involved in incidents in what might be considered more lucrative locations (eg banking and financial locations; n=25, or 36% of incidents in this location) relative to the more opportunistic locations (eg n=69 or 7% of those in the street or footpath; see Figure 21). Importantly though, while there are differences across various locations when considering very young and older offenders, the majority of involved offenders across most locations were aged between 18 and 34 years. The very young and the older offender types suggested in the data were responsible for only a minority of all armed robberies.

Offender groups

Adult offenders (those 18 years and over) generally operated alone regardless of where the offence was committed. This was particularly true for some commercial locations already mentioned—post offices, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies, and banking and financial locations (over 80% of incidents in these locations that involved adult offenders involved lone armed robbers; see Figure 22). Pairs of adults were relatively more common in open, public locations (eg 21% of robberies in the street and footpath involved pairs). Although relatively more offender groups appear to offend in wholesalers, administrative and professional, and recreational settings, few incidents were reported as occurring in these settings (n=8, 16 and 40 armed robberies respectively).

As noted elsewhere, armed robbery involving juveniles (ie under 18 years) also primarily involved only one offender. However, compared with adults, higher proportions of juvenile armed robbers operated in groups across a wider variety of locations (see Figure 23). For example, one-quarter each of incidents involving exclusively juveniles in unspecified retail settings, takeaways and pharmacies involved offender pairs. Over half of the incidents in the street and footpath carried out by young people under 18 years (n=194; 54%) involved groups.

Figure 21 Locations of armed robbery, by the age of the offender, 2009–10 (n)

Locations of armed robbery, by the age of the offender

Note: n=4,086. Excludes incidents without location and offender information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Weapons and property in recent armed robberies

Weapons used in recent armed robberies

The use, presence or threat of a weapon is a defining characteristic of armed robbery. NARMP records information relating to up three weapons in each robbery and the detailed inspection of the weapons reported as used in recent robberies highlights the wide variety of items offenders used to threaten victims (see Table 2). These include what could be considered traditional weapons, such as knives (n=6,297) and firearms (n=2,003), and ‘other weapons’ such as clubs, batons or sticks (n=535), crowbars and metal pipes (n= 432), and bottles or broken glass (n=399). In 2009 and 2010, knives were used to threaten the majority of victims (50%). A quarter were attacked with some ‘other weapon’ (25%) and 16 percent were robbed with a firearm. Only a very small minority (2%) were threatened with a syringe.

More than one victim could be involved in an armed robbery incident, therefore, percentage weapon use was slightly different when considering armed robbery events as the unit of analysis. The most serious weapon listed in 56 percent of incidents where there was detailed weapon information was a knife (n=5,314), in 17 percent it was a firearm (n=1,624), 24 percent involved some ‘other weapon’ (n=2,337) and a syringe was used in three percent (n=277).

Figure 22 Adult offenders of armed robbery by location and number of offenders, 2009–10 (n)

Adult offenders of armed robbery

Note: n=2,661. Excludes incidents without location and offender information. Excludes incidents with mixed age offender groups ie involving both juvenile and adult offenders

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Victim injury

Although inherently a violent crime because of the real or implied threat that accompanies armed robbery, not all armed robberies result in actual physical or emotional/psychological injury to victims. NARMP contains only limited victim injury information, derived from a subset of Australian jurisdictions. Furthermore, the broad injury categories employed by these two jurisdictions are not identical, so at best, these data can only suggest patterns of weapon use and injury.

Emotional trauma was the most common type of injury resulting from armed robbery (35% of the 1,941 individual victim cases in which the injury field contained information), followed by minor injury (eg cuts, abrasions; 21%). Serious injury requiring emergency medical attention was recorded for 71 victims (4%).

The type of injury sustained by victims varied by weapon type (see Figure 24). For instance, 27 percent of victims of ‘other weapon’ robberies received minor injuries, with relatively fewer victims of syringe robberies (12%) and firearm robberies (13%) sustaining similar levels of minor injury.

The single recorded fatality arose from a robbery with a knife and is the first recorded in the NARMP dataset since 2005. However, because of the limited capacity of NARMP to accurately record all injury arising from armed robbery, this is an underestimate. The AIC’s National Homicide Monitoring Program reports that when homicide occurs in the course of another crime, the most common preceding offence is robbery (although not necessarily armed robbery per se). In 2007–08, eight homicides were preceded by a robbery (Virueda & Payne 2010), none of which were recorded as such in the NARMP dataset.

No injury was noted, or the injury field was flagged as ‘not applicable’ in four out of every 10 individual victim cases (n=778). This does not necessarily indicate that victims did not experience some ill-effect of the incident, simply that it had not been noted in victim files at the time of data extraction.

Figure 23 Juvenile offenders of armed robbery by location and number of offenders, 2009–10 (n)

Juvenile offenders of armed robbery by location

Note: n=917. Excludes incidents without location and offender information. Excludes incidents with mixed age offender groups ie involving both juvenile and adult offenders

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Weapon use in different locations

Patterns of weapon use differ with location. The weapon selected to commit armed robbery can be seen as related to the level of victim control required in a robbery and the crime prevention ‘obstacles’ and other risks associated with the target and location, relative to the risks posed by carriage of a certain weapon (eg see Mouzos & Carcach 2001). Some approaches to understanding crime pose a level of considered reasoning behind weapon choice, that is, a rational choice perspective. This assumes offenders carry out their crimes to meet various needs and then make decisions and choices about how they offend based on the information available to them (eg see Clarke & Felson 1993). Within this framework, robbery offenders evaluate the characteristics of the target and the weapons at their disposal and opt for weapons that minimise risks and maximise returns.

The more high risk and high gain a target, the greater the likelihood that offenders will select weapons like a firearm. A firearm allows substantial, arm’s length control in highly secured and therefore threatening environments but compounds the risks to offenders because of the serious penalties associated with firearm use and the heightened possibility of firearms being used in response to their threat. Earlier research indicates that firearms are often the weapon of choice for high-yield, professional armed robberies (Smith & Louis 2010). The converse of this is that low-risk, low-yield robberies will likely be characterised by more opportunistic weapons that offer less victim control but are also less risky for offenders (knives, syringes, or other weapons).

Box 4: Syringe use in armed robbery

Although used in only a small number of incidents—less than five percent of armed robberies since 2004—a separate syringe category is retained in NARMP to permit weapon trends to be examined consistently over time. As noted elsewhere in this report, the NARMP dataset was modelled on the ABS RCV, which still reports separately on this weapon type. As indicated in Figure 5 of this report, the already low levels of use of this weapon may be declining and will continue to be monitored within NARMP.

It is highlighted in Figure 25 that incidents in high-volume, opportunistic locations such as the street and footpath involve primarily knives (59% or n=1,843) or other weapons (31%; n=979), with only eight percent of incidents involving a firearm (n=253). Conversely, robberies in licensed premises and banking and financial locations (which potentially offer higher gains but also greatly enhanced security and ‘guardianship’) involved firearms in four in 10 incidents (42% or n=274) and six in 10 incidents respectively (n=60, or 60%). ‘Other weapons’ were used in only 18 percent of robberies in licensed premises and in only 11 percent of bank robberies.

Victim, offenders and weapons used

Jurisdictions are requested to supply details on up to three weapons employed in an armed robbery, although not all are able supply this information. Four jurisdictions were able to provide more detailed descriptions, enabling some exploration of the way weapons are used in combination. However, these data do not accurately describe all weapons employed in all recent armed robberies.

If a victim is threatened with multiple weapons, the most serious weapon used in that incident is considered. As shown in Figures 26 and 27, both male and female victims of any age were most often robbed by an offender armed with a knife and least often robbed by an offender with a syringe. However, it is interesting to note that the proportion of victims robbed by offenders with firearms increased as the age of the victim increased. This was true for both males and females, and may be linked to the ‘routine activities’ of older victims. Older adults might tend to avoid those relatively unsafe locations and times that are associated with high-volume knife robbery, but do frequent those locations that are more often subject to high-gain firearm robbery. Importantly and as noted previously, older adults are subject to fewer armed robbery attacks overall than younger people, so those few firearm robberies that older adults do experience constitute a larger proportion of their overall victimisation.

The armed robbery of an organisation poses a different set of risks and opportunities to those presented by an individual and weapons used against the different types of victims would seem to reflect this. For instance, knives were the weapon most commonly used against both individual and organisational victims, regardless of location (57% and 53% respectively). Firearms were used in the robbery of organisations more often (27%; n=831) than in attacks against individual victims (12%; n=792), but their use against the different types of victim varied with location. Only eight percent of individual victims robbed in the street were threatened with a firearm, while around one-third of those victimised in banks (35%) and in licensed premises (33%) were subject to firearm robbery (see Figure 28).

Table 2 Weapons used against armed robbery victims, 2009—10 (per 100,000)
Weapon n % total weapons
Firearms
Firearm (with no further detail) 97 1
Handgun 1,162 9
Shotgun 340 3
Rifle, airgun 120 1
Sawn-off longarm 23 0
Replica firearm 50 0
Other firearm (not classified elsewhere) 211 2
Total 2,003 16
Knives
Knife (with no further detail) 6,070 48
Scissors 7 0
Pocket knife 3 0
Screwdriver 74 1
Other knife (not classified elsewhere) 143 1
Total 6,297 50
Syringes
Syringe 313 2
Total 313 2
Other weapons
Other weapon (with no further detail) 928 7
Club, baton or stick 535 4
Rock, stone or brick 88 1
Tool (not classified elsewhere) 261 2
Blunt instrument (not classified elsewhere) 127 1
Bottle, broken glass 399 3
Chemical spray 20 0
Explosive, bomb 10 0
Machete, axe 68 1
Sledgehammer 57 0
Crowbar, metal pipe 432 3
Bow, spear, speargun 5 0
Vehicle 6 0
Conducted electronic weapon (stun gun) 10 0
Sword 9 0
Other weapon (not classified elsewhere) 182 1
Total 3,137 25
Unknown and no further detail
Weapon used (with no further detail) 167 1
Unknown 804 6
Total 971 8
Total 12,721 100

Note: Victims can be threatened with more than 1 weapon therefore total exceeds number of victims. Percentages do not necessarily total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Figure 24 Victim injury and weapons used in armed robbery, 2009–10 (n)

Victim injury and weapons used in armed robbery

Note: Excludes victim cases without injury or weapon information. Based on most serious weapon listed for that victim

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Organisational victims at sites with substantial cash holdings and therefore more security (ie hardened), such as banks and financial locations, and licensed premises, were robbed by offenders armed with firearms at higher rates (68% and 44% respectively) than organisational victims at less secure sites (eg street and footpath, 15%; see Figure 29). It is probable that locations that are attractive to offenders because of cash levels but that are also ‘hardened’ will be targeted by organised or ‘professional’ armed robbery offenders employing firearms. Organisational victims are more likely in these locations. Individuals are also victimised at these sites, but at a lesser rate, hence the differential patterns of weapon use when considering victim type and location.

Weapon use did not vary widely with the number of offenders involved in recent robberies (see Figure 30). The percentage of robberies in which a knife was the most serious weapon employed was reasonably constant across offender numbers (around 1 in every 2 incidents). Syringe use is the exception, with these weapons mostly employed by offenders acting alone or in pairs. The apparently different pattern of weapon use among groups of five offenders is likely due to the small number of incidents (n=67).

Figure 25 Weapons used in armed robbery by location, 2009–10 (n)

Weapons used in armed robbery by location

Note: n=9,551. Excludes incident cases without location or weapon information. Based on most serious weapon listed for that incident

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Most armed robbery incidents in 2009 and 2010 involved only a single type of reported weapon; 49 percent involved a single knife, 22 percent one single ‘other weapon’, 13 percent a single firearm and three percent a single syringe. Where more than one weapon was recorded as involved, the most common combination was a knife and some ‘other weapon’ (2% of incidents; see Table 3). Also in keeping with earlier analyses, higher percentages of incidents involved a firearm or a combination of firearms for organisational victims relative to individuals (25% of incidents involving a single organisation and 24% of incidents involving both organisational and individual victims, versus 11% of individuals). Only a very small number of incidents involved offenders armed with syringe(s) (3%), with similar proportions used against organisational and individual of victims.

Property stolen in recent armed robberies

As with victim injury, because of data limitations NARMP information describing the types of property stolen is at best broadly indicative of all Australian armed robberies. Only six jurisdictions were able to supply some type of property information and the type of information received varied with jurisdiction. Information concerning up to five property items can be recorded within NARMP (although an incident may involve the loss of many more items) and there is no standard across states and territories for prioritising property type when data are extracted (the Technical Appendix contains additional detail concerning the limitations of property information).

With these caveats in mind, valid (ie non-missing and not flagged as no property listed) information was available for 3,820 recent incidents. Only a single type of property was listed in half of these incidents (51%) and five items of property were listed for 604 incidents (16%). On average, among the armed robberies with valid information, two property items were listed as stolen. The types of items taken in recent armed robberies is summarised in Table 4, where cash was listed as stolen at least once in 2,243 incidents (or 59% of those with property information). Electrical equipment, which includes personal electrical items like laptops and mobile phones, was the next most commonly stolen item (listed at least once in 1,552 or 41% of armed robberies).

Figure 26 Male victims of armed robbery by age and weapon type, 2009–10 (n)

Male victims of armed robbery by age and weapon type

Note: n=6,044. Excludes victim cases without weapon, gender or age information. Based on most serious weapon listed for that incident

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

Figure 27 Female victims of armed robbery by age and weapon type, 2009–10 (n)

Female victims of armed robbery by age and weapon type

Note: n=1,772. Excludes victim cases without weapon, gender or age information. Based on most serious weapon listed for that incident

Source: AIC NARMP victims 2003–10 [computer file]

The types of property stolen varied with victim type (see Table 4). Not surprisingly, portable items that are commonly carried by people were stolen when robbing individuals—cash (listed at least once in 1,474—or 52%—of incidents involving only individuals and that also contained valid property of information), electrical equipment (47%), luggage (which includes wallets and handbags; 26%) and identity documents (18%). Cash also was listed in nearly eight of every 10 incidents involving only organisations (n=658, or 78% of relevant incidents), but no other property type was noted in more than 20 percent of organisational armed robberies. This again would be expected—offenders would presumably target certain organisational victims because of cash holdings. Because the mixed category describes armed robberies with both individual and organisational victims, the pattern of stolen property reflects both victim types (eg 19% of incidents involved the robbery of identity documents, probably in the stolen luggage items of persons involved), but nearly three-quarters saw the loss of cash, likely from the organisations targeted in the crimes.

Figure 28 Individual victims of armed robbery by location and weapon type, 2009–10 (n)

Individual victims of armed robbery by location and weapon type

a: n<20

b: n<50

Note: n=6,416. Includes incidents with single or multiple individual victims. Excludes incidents without victim type, location or weapon information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Detailed examination of robbery locations highlighted that at least 80 percent each of incidents involving organisations that took place in post offices, in administrative and professional settings, in banking and financial locations, and in service stations involved stolen cash. Service stations also recorded relatively high levels of stolen alcohol and other drugs (n=41, or 30% of organisational victims robbed in service stations). This property category encompasses tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, illicit substances and related paraphernalia, and is often likely to represent cigarettes in the case of service stations. Whether these items were the target of the robbery or were picked up incidentally during the offence is impossible to determine. It is more probable that the alcohol and other drugs (including pharmaceuticals and syringes) taken in the course of pharmacy robberies were targeted, but again, this cannot be determined with certainty.

Weapon use varied with location and with victim type, and as highlighted in Table 5, the property stolen also appeared to differ by type of weapon.A larger proportion of firearm robberies involved the loss of cash, with a smaller proportion involving stolen electrical equipment when compared with incidents involving knives or other weapons. Presumably this pattern emerged because of patterns of weapon use among victim types—organisational robberies resulted in proportionally more stolen cash than did incidents involving individuals and firearms were used proportionally more often against organisations. By contrast, ‘other weapon’ robberies were proportionally more frequent among individuals and so the pattern of property lost more resembles that seen among person victims. One in five syringe robberies resulted in the theft of alcohol and other drugs, and closer examination of these cases indicated that nine of these robberies took place in pharmacies, suggesting offender drug involvement in weapon and target choices, and the types of property targeted from those victims.

Figure 29 Organisational victims of armed robbery by location and weapon type, 2009–10 (n)

Organisational victims of armed robbery by location and weapon type

a: n<20

b: n<50

Note: n=3,135. Includes incidents with single or multiple organisational victims that may also involve individual person victims. Excludes incidents without victim type, location or weapon information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Figure 30 Number of offenders by most serious weapon used, 2009–10 (n)

Number of offenders by most serious weapon used

Note: n=3,694. Excludes incidents without offender or weapon information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Average takings by location and weapon are presented in Table 6. Importantly, because of the limitations surrounding property value variables, these data should be viewed as only broadly indicative. Banks and licensed premises (including pubs or hotels with gaming venues attached) were the two locations with the highest average value property stolen per incident. In 2009 and 2010, banks robberies netted offenders an average of $5,293 per incident, while for licensed premises the amount was $5,088. The average value of property stolen per incident was also high for residential armed robbery incidents ($3,528). Residential armed robberies can be characterised by the disproportionately high occurrence of prior relationships between offenders and victims relative to armed robberies in other locations (eg see Borzycki 2008). Potentially, this prior acquaintance means the offender may be aware of high-value property or cash held within the residence, increasing the gains for robbery in this location.

High-volume locations, such as the street/footpath and unspecified retailers, had relatively smaller stolen property values per incident. For instance, the 840 incidents of armed robbery on the street or footpath (where property information was available) resulted in an average loss of $1,206 per incident. For retail locations, the value was higher at $2,133. Average values cannot, however, describe the range of the values associated with all incidents and the highly variable gains offenders might achieve. In 2009 and 2010, the value of property stolen in incidents of armed robbery occurring on the street or footpath ranged from less than $1 to $150,000, with a standard deviation of $6,906.

Table 3 Weapon combinationsa used in armed robberies by victim type, 2009—10
Victim type
Weapon Individualsb Organisationsc Mixed Total
Firearms
Single firearm 10 20 19 13
Multiple firearms <1 1 1 <1
Firearm and knife 1 2 3 1
Firearm and syringe 0 <1 0 <1
Firearm and other weapon 1 1 1 1
Firearm and weapon nfd 0 <1 0 <1
Firearm, knife and other weapon <1 0 0 <1
Total firearm 11 25 24 16
Knife
Single knife 50 47 49 49
Multiple knives <1 <1 <1 <1
Knife and syringe <1 <1 0 <1
Knife and other weapon 2 1 2 2
Knife and other weapon nfd <1 <1 1 <1
Knife, other weapon and weapon nfd <1 0 <1 <1
Total knife 52 49 53 51
Syringe
Single syringe 2 3 2 3
Syringe & other weapon <1 <1 0 <1
Syringe & weapon nfd 0 <1 0 <1
Total syringe 2 3 2 3
Other weapon
Single other weapon 25 14 15 22
Multiple other weapons 1 1 <1 1
Other weapon and weapon nfd <1 <1 0 <1
Total other weapon 26 15 15 22
Missing
Not specified/missing 8 8 6 8
Total (n) 7,007 3,016 366 10,389

a: Weapon combinations derived from up to 3 listed weapon types. Excludes incident records with victim type missing

b: Includes incidents involved single and multiple individual victims

c: Includes incidents that involved single and multiple organisations

Note: nfd=not further defined. Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Figure 31 Types of property stolen in armed robbery incidents, 2009–10 (n)

Types of property stolen in armed robbery

Note: n=3,820. Incidents can include up to 5 types of stolen property. This counts includes incidents in which the specific property type was listed at least once. Excludes incidents annotated as ‘no property stolen’ or ‘not applicable’ and those for which stolen property variables were not supplied

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

The average stolen per incident was much higher for armed robberies involving firearms ($4,630; n=334) compared with knives ($1,371) and when considering specific location and weapon type in combination, ‘lucrative’ incidents on average involved firearms in unspecified retailers ($6,335), banking and financial locations ($6,917), and licensed premises ($7,362). Property stolen from unspecified and other locations using ‘other weapons’ had the greatest average value per incident in 2009 and 2010 at $8,478.

These data suggest that even the most ‘lucrative’ of the recent armed robberies on average resulted in returns that were generally small given the risks inherent to committing armed robbery. Further examination showed that almost six in 10 recent armed robberies for which both offender and property value information were available (57%) resulted in victim losses of less than $500. Only four percent of these resulted in losses over $10,000. Finally, there does not appear to be any interpretable pattern to the loss value when considering offender numbers (see Table 7).

Table 4 Property stolen in armed robberies by victim type, 2009—10 (%)
Victim type
Property category Individualsa Organisationsb Mixed
Cash 52 78 74
Electrical equipment 47 21 26
Luggage 26 12 13
ID documents 18 11 19
Personal items 17 11 5
Negotiable documents 14 9 10
Other items 10 13 10
Alcohol and other drugs 7 21 17
Jewellery 5 2 7
Vehicles and accessories 4 1 1
Weapons 3 4 0
Total incidents (n) 2,825 845 150

a: Includes incidents involved single and multiple individual victims

b: Includes incidents that involved single and multiple organisation

Note: Percentages do not total 100 because a single incident could involve the loss of up to 5 different property types

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Table 5 Property stolen during armed robbery, by most serious weapon, 2009—10 (%)
Weapon
Property category Firearm Knife Syringe Other weapon
Cash 68 58 57 49
Electrical equipment 29 38 22 43
Luggage 13 19 15 27
ID documents 12 15 13 15
Personal items 12 11 17 20
Negotiable documents 9 11 10 12
Other items 11 7 9 19
Alcohol and other drugs 11 8 19 10
Jewellery 4 3 5 6
Vehicles and accessories 3 2 2 5
Weapons 4 3 3 2
Total incidents (n) 587 2,013 99 899

Note: Excludes incidents without weapon and property information. Based on most serious weapon used in an incident. Percentages do not total 100 because a single incident could involve the loss of up to 5 different property types

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Table 6 Average dollar value of property stolen during armed robbery by weapon and location type, 2009–10
Firearm Knife Syringe Other weapon All weapons
Residential
average $ per incident 5,583 3,316 0 2,524 3,528
n 53 83 0 91 227
Recreational
average $ per incident 1,460 620 343 515 647
n 11 46 4 49 110
Transport
average $ per incident 1,547 769 743 512 706
n 11 104 6 83 204
Open space
average $ per incident 0 400 0 298 321
n 0 2 0 7 9
Street/footpath
average $ per incident 2,679 945 688 1,325 1,206
n 56 428 20 336 840
Educational
average $ per incident 787 453 0 624 622
n 3 3 0 5 11
Administration
average $ per incident 566 961 0 0 829
n 2 4 0 0 6
Wholesale
average $ per incident 1,915 0 0 0 1,915
n 1 0 0 0 1
Retail
average $ per incident 6,335 1,329 651 979 2,133
n 70 211 21 81 383
Banking
average $ per incident 6,917 4,496 4,000 6 5,293
n 7 6 1 1 15
Pharmacies
average $ per incident 2,524 1,750 52 669 1,561
n 14 35 8 9 66
Service stations
average $ per incident 3,578 480 410 607 1,196
n 29 65 1 37 132
Licensed
average $ per incident 7,362 4,701 0 2,490 5,088
n 49 53 0 35 137
Newsagents
average $ per incident 2,000 487 0 0 991
n 2 4 0 0 6
Post offices
average $ per incident 1,878 4,171 0 675 2,636
n 9 7 0 2 18
Corner/convenience stores
average $ per incident 821 425 931 500 558
n 8 21 2 1 32
Takeaways
average $ per incident 1,430 640 500 550 694
n 2 18 1 2 23
Unspecified/other
average $ per incident 5,719 1,372 0 8,478 5,067
n 7 16 0 16 39
Total
average $ per incident 4,630 1.371 632 1,432 1,852
n 334 1,106 64 755 2,259

Note: Excludes incidents without location and property value information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Table 7 Dollar value category of property stolen during armed robbery by number of offenders, 2009–10 (%)
Offenders (n)
$ value category 1 2 3 4 5 Total
Less than $500 59 54 46 67 57 57
$500–$1,999 28 28 32 17 35 28
$2,000–$9,999 10 12 16 17 9 11
$10,000–$49,999 2 4 6 0 0 3
$50,000 and over 1 1 0 0 0 1
Total incidents (n) 569 231 69 24 23 916

Note: Excludes incidents without property value and offender information

Source: AIC NARMP incidents 2004–10 [computer file]

Related links

Armed robbery in Australia 2009–10: National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program report: