Friday, July 20, 2007


The Australian Institute of Criminology has released its annual report on homicide in Australia. The figures show no significant new trends:
During 2005–06, there were 283 incidents of homicide, resulting in 301 victims and committed by 336 offenders. Since 2001–02, there has been a downward trend in the incidence of homicide. During the current year, the incidence of homicide increased by 14 percent compared to 2004–05, this represents an increase of 34 homicide incidents. There was also an increase in the number of victims killed (301 victims up from 267 the previous year). However, analysis of the time series over the 17 years found that this recent increase was not statistically significant.
A knife or other sharp instrument continues to be the most commonly used murder tool (33% of homicide victims). The next most commonly used weapon is hands and/or feet (18% of victims beaten to death). Firearms and blunt instruments each account for 14% of victims.

The registration status of these firearms is worth noting:
In 2004–05, a total of 40 (15%) victims were killed with a firearm. In 2005–06, 42 (14%) victims were killed with a firearm. Another consistent pattern is that the firearms used are unlawfully held. That is, they were not registered to either the victim or the offender, nor was the victim or offender licensed to own the firearm. The licensing and registration details of two cases in the current year were not available. Nine firearm homicide incidents were unsolved at the time of data collection. During 2005–06, 39 identified offenders used a firearm to commit homicide. Of these, four used a registered firearm (10%), and five were licensed to own a firearm (13%), reflecting a decrease from the proportion of offenders licensed and registered in 2004–05 (21 percent licensed and 17 percent registered).
Few of these guns appear to be stolen:
At least two firearms used in homicide were suspected to be stolen (case nos 32/06 and 29/06).
Most gun murders are committed by known criminals:
Not surprisingly given the low level of legal ownership of firearms among those involved in homicide, 61 percent of offenders had a prior criminal history, compared with 45 percent of victims.
Gee, with most firearm murders committed by known criminals using unlawfully held (but not stolen) guns, Australia's restrictive gun laws are most effective at keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens who would never use them to commit a crime. Yep, the government can be a pain in the arse.

(Thanks to Mark C. for pointing out the AIC report.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Singapore where I'm working now, private gun ownership is seriously curtailed by the govt- but criminals caught using guns are usually hanged or imprisoned for long periods. Maybe Australia should do the same?

10:58 PM  

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