Region feeds illegal gun market with rifles, handguns swiped
A PERSISTENT demand for firearms on the black market has seen more than 100 firearms stolen from properties across the region in the past year alone.
Warwick Police Station acting officer-in-charge Shane Reid said audits revealed landholders were largely compliant with safety and security measures, but urged gun owners to make it as hard as possible for criminals to locate weapons.
Queensland Police data shows that across the Darling Downs Policing District, more than 100 firearms were stolen, most of which were long-arm weapons such as rifles but some handguns were also taken.
There were 19 break and enter offences where firearms were stolen as well as three further stealing offences, which could have involved weapons taken from a shed or vehicle.
Three armed robberies also occurred where weapons were reported to be used.
Senior Sergeant Reid said he believed the number of firearms stolen each year remained largely consistent but even one firearm stolen in a year was too many.
He said they could be used for armed robberies, organised crime, as threats, in standover tactics or traded for drugs.
"Every firearm in the wrong hands has the potential to be misused at the hands of criminals, which could result in injury or death," Sgt Reid said.
"We have records of everyone with licences but when people aren't licensed there's that potential danger to police.
"Obviously there's a demand for firearms on the black market and legislation dictates what security measures must be in place for firearms owners."
Sgt Reid said living in rural areas meant there was a higher number of firearms compared to bigger cities.
While there was strong compliance with security and storage across the region, Sgt Reid urged people to keep details about how many and the types of firearms they had private.
Sgt Reid said intelligence suggested the type of weapon was often known by the thief before it was taken.
"Once the information is out there your weapons can be a target," he said.
Sgt Reid said it was important to secure a safe to a building or floor, keep keys away from the safe and well hidden, as well as disguising the safe so it was not obvious there was a firearm inside.
Landholders are also urged to check on their firearm regularly so stolen weapons could be investigated as soon as possible.