Police start random searches for firearms
Geraldton police will randomly inspect the homes of firearm owners in the next two months as part of an operation targeting firearm security.
The Statewide Operation Bluesun will also focus on illegal firearms.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Mid West Gascoyne district office Acting Insp. Levinia Hugo highlighted the need for firearm security.
“Between January 2016 and July 2018, a total of 1317 firearms were stolen in WA, with 58 per cent of those stolen in regional WA,” Insp. Hugo said. “Firearm owners are required to comply with strong legislation regarding storage.”
Police are investigating the theft of a firearm and ammunition in Mount Magnet about 3am yesterday.
Inspector Hugo said the owner had left the firearm and ammunition unsecured in his vehicle.
Regional WA Commander Jo McCabe said Bluesun would help ensure innocent members of the public were unaffected by firearm crime.
“Firearms incidents are unusual in Western Australia but there have been a number of recent events that have heightened our concerns,” she said.
“These incidents are frequently a result of criminals’ nefarious dealings with other criminals but there is always a risk that an innocent member of the public will be affected by firearm-related crimes.
“This is precisely why we have initiated Bluesun.”
Figures up to late October showed that more than 85,000 people legally own about 328,000 firearms in WA.
Since July, there have been 11 handgun thefts in WA and 128 rifle thefts.
Almost 50 of these thefts occurred at a house and 33 involved a compliance breach, such as failing to properly secure the weapon.
So far, 10 people have been charged in relation to these thefts.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Firearm owners who want to surrender firearms should contact Geraldton police.
Mid West Gascoyne District Office Acting Inspector Levinia Hugo at a Geraldton Police Station press conference.