A SENIOR Toowoomba police officer said there was no evidence to suggest that firearm thefts across the region had any links to organised crime syndicates.
Freedom of Information documents obtained by The Chronicle revealed 179 firearms had been reported stolen over the past two years, including 90 from Toowoomba.
The weapons had been reported stolen between December 2010 and December 2012.
Police classify the stolen firearms into a number of categories.
In Toowoomba, 56 category A firearms were stolen during the period and included double and single barrel shotguns and rimfire rifles.
Over the same period, 33 category B firearms were stolen and included centre fire rifles and break-action shotguns.
Southern Region Crime Coordinator Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow said all weapon thefts were treated extremely seriously by police.
"There are always concerns when firearms are stolen especially when they get into the wrong hands," Det. Insp Shadlow said.
"All firearm thefts are extensively investigated by a specialised weapons unit based in Brisbane.
"With every firearm theft, the investigation does look to see if there is any organised crime connection.
"What is of concern is the number of handguns which have been stolen.
"However, there is no evidence to suggest that there is an organised ring targeting firearms in rural areas," he said.
Will the firearm amnesty lead to a reduction in gun-related crimes?
This poll ended on 13 March 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Det. Insp Shadlow said the majority of firearm thefts were opportunistic.
"Most of the firearms which are stolen are long-arm rifles or shot guns which are common for people living on the land to use," he said.
"With regards to farmers, crooks have time to rummage through things because often they are out for the majority of the day.
"You would be surprised to learn the amount of people who put their keys in easy to find places with a tag saying 'gun safe' attached to them.
"As a general rule we tend to recover a good proportion of them but I can not give the exact figure."
Det. Insp Shadlow has urged firearm owners to be more vigilant in securing their weapons.
"The majority of people do the right thing," he said.
"But, we had a case recently where the entire gun safe was ripped from the floor.
"Some firearms work their way back into the system, but others are never seen again."
Det. Insp Shadlow said the majority of armed robberies in the region do not involve firearms.
- Toowoomba: 90
- Dalby: 27
- Warwick: 39
- Roma: 23
STOLEN FIREARM FACTS
- Firearm theft in Queensland is up by more than 50 percent since 2008-09.
- A firearm amnesty is now in place until April 30.
- Eight firearms were reported stolen from one Toowoomba address in September, 2011.
- Ten firearms were reported stolen from another Toowoomba address in December, 2011.
- 95 handguns had been reported stolen in Queensland over the past two years.
- Many firearm thefts go undetected because unlicensed owners are too afraid to report them.
- The Australian Institute of Criminology says only 14 per cent of stolen firearms are recovered.
- Currently there is no national firearm data base.
STOLEN CATEGORY A AND B FIREARMS
- Toowoomba: 56 and 33 (one other)
- Dalby: 14 and 11 (two other)
- Warwick: 18 and 21
- Roma: 14 and 7 (two other)