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Release date: 12 November 2012, Monday
Despite the recent upward trend in drive-by shootings, the long-term trend in criminal offences involving firearms in NSW is down.
The total number of criminal incidents involving a firearm declined by 48 per cent between 1995 and 2011.
A total of 29 people were victims of murder involving a firearm in 1995. The number of victims fell to 13 by 1998. This was followed by an increase to 24 in 2003, before a fluctuating decline to 11 in 2011.
The number of victims of murder involving a handgun fluctuated across 1995 to 2011, peaking with 12 victims in 2001. For 5 years from 2007 to 2011, murders involving handguns remained low, with three to four victims per year.
The number of incidents of robbery involving a firearm declined by 50.7 percent between 1995 and 2011. A similar pattern was observed for robbery involving a handgun, which declined by 51.6 percent between 1995 and 2011
Shoot with intent (e.g. to murder) offences rose from 63 to 117 incidents between 1995 and 2001. This was followed by a steady decline to 59 incidents in 2011, a fall of approximately 50 per cent.
There were 201 incidents of unlawfully discharge firearm in 1995. This rose to 244 in 2001 before a steady, albeit fluctuating, decline to 147 in 2005 and then to a low of 126 in 2010. The number of incidents of unlawfully discharge firearm was 23.9 percent lower in 2011 than in 1995.
In contrast to the offences just mentioned, the number of discharge firearm into premises incidents has risen since 1995. The number of incidents of discharge firearm into premises rose from 41 in 1995 to 100 incidents in 2011, an increase of 143.9 percent.
Peaks were observed in 2000 (113 incidents) and 2001 (116 incidents). Incidents of discharge firearm into premises rose by 40.9 percent between 2010 and 2011 but remain below their peak in 2001.
The rate of firearm theft is lower in Sydney than the rest of NSW in 2011 (0.8 and 6.4 per 100,000 population, respectively). Firearms are most frequently stolen from residences (79%, 2011) and rifles were the most stolen firearm (66%, 2011).
Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190 (please do not ring my mobile number)