WA residents are being urged to “say something before it’s too late” in a campaign aimed at getting illegal guns off the streets.
In Mandurah today (Wednesday, 9 March 2022), Crime Stoppers WA and WA Police kicked off phase 2 of a six-month national illegal firearms campaign which is aimed at removing as many unregistered guns from the community.
Phase 1 of the campaign, which ran from July to September last year, encouraged people with an unregistered gun to surrender it without penalty.
Phase 2 of the campaign now encourages people who know any information about an illegal gun to report it confidentially and safely to Crime Stoppers.
From 1 July 2021 to 1 March 2022, a total of 1,250 firearms and gun parts have been handed in to WA Police along with 35,183 rounds of ammunition. The 1,250 firearms and gun parts have included 126 hand guns, 245 shot guns and a total of 879 rifles and gun parts.
Crime Stoppers WA CEO Dr Vince Hughes said a range of community engagement and promotional events would be held throughout metropolitan and regional centres of Western Australia, all with a view to encouraging people to share what they know about illegal guns and to safely surrender any they may have in their possession.
“Illegal guns are more likely to be used in crime, more likely to be defective or insecurely stored, and more likely to be involved in accidents,” Dr Hughes said. “There is no excuse – indeed no legitimate reason – for anyone in Western Australia to have an illegal firearm.”
“Our message today is simple – if you have an illegal firearm, do the right thing; do the right thing by your friends, family and the community – hand it in.”
Dr Hughes said Phase 2 of the illegal firearms campaign would encourage families, friends and anybody who may have information to speak up and share what they know with Crime Stoppers “before it’s too late”.
“How would you feel if you had some information about an illegal gun which was then used to harm or kill someone?” he said.
“Criminals often go to great lengths to obtain a firearm illegally and then conceal it from authorities, and it’s unlikely they would go to that effort unless they are prepared to use it.”
WA Police Assistant District Officer for Mandurah, Inspector Peter Morrissey, said: “We would urge anyone in the Mandurah community who has information relating to an illegal or unregistered firearm to contact Crime Stoppers.
“Our objective is to get as many guns off the streets as possible,” Inspector Morrissey said.
“Whether it’s an inherited family heirloom, an old gun left in the back of a shed, received from a family friend, or a firearm legally registered but no longer needed – they all remain a potential risk to community safety.
“We are also urging registered firearm owners to make sure they keep their guns secured in a safe place at home. We have recently had several burglary offences committed in semi-rural areas around the Mandurah area where firearms have been stolen.
“People need to ensure constant security over their firearms; keep them secured in a safe place; make sure the keys to their gun safe are not easily accessible and, if possible, review their home security – even consider installing CCTV systems and an alarm to cover areas where firearms are stored.”
Inspector Morrissey also urged residents to be conscious of anyone acting suspiciously around their local area and to report any suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers.
Dr Hughes said Australia was not immune from the devastating impacts that come with having illegal firearms in the hands of criminals.
“We have seen the tragic loss of life and severe injuries that occur when people turn a blind eye and allow illegal firearms to remain in the community,” Dr Hughes said.
“The demand for illegal firearms is driven by organised crime groups right through to low-level individual criminals, who use firearms to protect their interests and to commit violent acts.
“If you suspect that someone has an illegal gun, share what you know with Crime Stoppers before it is too late.
“Report the information safely without the need to say who you are, get involved, or put yourself at risk of harm.
Visit www.crimestopperswa.com.au or contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to report information about an illegal or unregistered firearm. For further information about how and where to surrender illegal firearms, visit www.crimestoppers.com.au/illegalguns