Homicide in Australia has declined over the last 25 years – since well before the introduction of the National Firearms Agreement. That information comes straight from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s new National Homicide Monitoring Report. The number of homicide incidents has fallen by 22 per cent over the last 25 years, decreasing from 307 incidents in 1989-90 to 238 incidents in 2013-14.
Amid regular reports of increasing violence and gangs on our streets, it could be easy to think homicides were rife in Victoria. However, the latest AIC data shows that the homicide rate in Victoria, at 0.9 per 100,000 in 2013-14, is lower than all other states except ACT and Queensland. Victoria’s homicide rate was well below Northern Territory’s 6.5 per 100,000 in 2013-14.
In an effort to disarm the public, the anti-gun lobby often claims firearms are the most dangerous threat to community safety, but the AIC data shows otherwise. Using that mentality, it is knives that should be removed from society. Between 1989-90 and 2013-14, excluding just two years, knives and other sharp instruments were the most common weapon used in a homicide incident in Australia. In 2013-14 knives were used in 36 per cent, or 86, homicides.
Homicide victims were actually more likely to be killed by someone’s hands/feet than a firearm. Hand/feet were the second most commonly used weapon, being the cause of death in 25 per cent of homicide incidents between 1989-90 and 2013-14.
The number of homicide incidents involving a firearm decreased by 57 per cent between 1989-90 and 2013-14. Firearms were used in just 13 per cent of homicide incidents in 2013-14, down from 24 per cent in 1989-90.
Other weapons reportedly used in homicides included blunt instruments, explosives, fire, poison, drugs, rope and vehicles.