Falling Crime Rates and the Destruction of Firearms
Friday, 20 July 2012 - 9:50am
More than 100 firearms are being crushed in Tasmania every month as Tasmania Police works to keep the community safe.
Each year Tasmania Police destroys about 1,400 firearms, including hand guns, rifles, shot guns and semi-automatic firearms. Over the past 5 years to date, police have destroyed more than 6,500 firearms, preventing their potential use in criminal activity.
“This is a significant number of firearms destroyed, removing them from the possibility of falling into criminal hands,” said the Commissioner, Darren Hine.
Firearms held by police are seized as part of criminal investigations or handed in to police for various reasons including because they are no longer required, from a deceased estate or not registered.
Among the firearms destroyed most recently are .22 rifles, mid calibre rifles, and shotguns. Out of 60 items, 11 had been seized, 7 were used in an offence or were the instrument of an offence (not stored correctly etc.), 6 were unregistered and 1 was stolen.
The firearms are crushed by a local company which recycles the steel.
“The community is a safer place without these firearms. We urge anyone who has firearms they no longer require, or anyone who knows where illegal firearms may be kept, to contact us with that information,” said Mr Hine.
Information can be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“We are serious about taking illegal and unwanted guns out of circulation. We would like to remind the public of the amnesty for handing in firearms,” said Mr Hine.
The permanent amnesty, under the Firearms Act 1996, allows any unauthorised firearms to be handed in to a police station, and no action will be taken in relation to the illegal possession of the firearms.
Crime rates continue to decrease
The number of offences reported in Tasmania is continuing a downward trend. In the ten years since 2001–2002 the number of offences reported has more than halved.
Ten years ago, 50,688 offences were reported while in the 2011-12 financial year around 24,000 offences were reported.
The number of offences in 2011-12 decreased by 11.5% compared with the previous financial year.
The biggest decrease in 2011-12 was for the offence of business burglaries, which are down by almost 20% on the previous year. Also of note is a 15% fall in stolen motor vehicles and a 15% decrease in serious crime offences.
Other reported offences in 2011 -12:
- Public order incidents down 10.8%
- Public place assaults down 4.6%
- Home burglary down 4%
- Car burglary offences down 16.7%
“Our vision is for a safe, secure and resilient Tasmania and these results validate the confidence that Tasmanians have in their police service,” said Mr Hine.
“With a reduced budget, the challenge is to continue to build on the hard work of the past decade in reducing reported crime. The community can be assured that we are focussed on the strategic deployment of our resources in the most efficient and effective manner.”
Today Tasmania Police embarked on a series of forums to engage with local government representatives about the trends in reported crime.