Last updated: 01 December, 1998

Australian Gun Control Problems

The following articles come from Australian newspapers. While they don't "prove" anything, they are indicators of what many people have said before - Take away firearms from the law abiding and crime rises. Corruption of police authority becomes more rampant as police officers find ways to line their pockets, unafraid of the public. And worse yet, the police seek even more authority and special powers to imprison people or confiscate their property.

Clipped from The Australian, an Australian newspaper site.

From The Mercury, Tasmania, Australia.

Tassie crime on rise

By Ellen Whinnett

1 Dec 98 POLICE Minister David Llewellyn has admitted Tasmania has a crime problem as new figures show a significant increase in crime across the state.

The 1997-98 police annual report reveals that property offences, offences against the person, assault, sexual assault, armed robbery and robbery all increased last financial year.

Mr Llewellyn, who was in Opposition during the year the offences were recorded, tried to put a positive spin on the figures, pointing out that the rate of increase was less than in other years. But he conceded that Tasmania had a crime problem and said the community needed to work together to solve it.

"I don't want to apportion blame for the increased incidence of crime, just to say that as a community we have a problem," he said.
Sounds like he doesn't want to admit that a gun ban is at least partially to blame

Tasmania recorded rates lower than the national average for most offences, including the most serious crimes of murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, blackmail and armed robbery.

However, crimes in Tasmania rose in almost every category, with offences against the person rising 9.9% from 2538 to 2788.

Offences against property, which include burglary and damage to property, rose 8.8% to 59,190 offences.

Assault was up from 1888 to 2055, and sexual assault rose from 211 to 258.

Assaulting, resisting, obstructing or threatening police dropped marginally, from 170 to 167, while there were two attempted murders, the same number as for the previous financial year.

There was a significant increase in the number of armed robberies, up from 35 the previous year to 59.

Unarmed robbery also rose from 116 to 121 offences.

There were four murders, compared to six the previous financial year.

Mr Llewellyn released a snapshot of the crime statistics ahead of the Police Department's annual report, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament today. He said that, despite the increase in crime, clearance rates were improving.

"While offences against the person were up almost 10%, 62% of those crimes were solved last financial year," he said.

"And the clearance rate for offences against property was 13%, an improvement of 4% on the previous year." Mr Llewellyn said a number of strategies were under way to tackle crime, including funding for extra police and targeting trouble spots.

From The Daily Telegraph - Coverage: New South Wales

Police accused of stealing buy-back weapons

23nov98 HUNDREDS of weapons handed in during the guns buy-back scheme have allegedly been stolen by NSW police officers and passed to criminal gangs or turned in again for money.

The Australian Federal Police have launched an investigation after audits revealed buy-back guns earmarked for destruction had either gone missing, been handed in twice, or found back on the streets.
Perhaps this might be one reason for Australia's rising crime rate?

The Daily Telegraph has learned the secret AFP investigation, codenamed Task Force Majorca, was launched after the Defence Department's Special Investigation Branch uncovered widespread theft and corruption involving military weapons and explosive stocks.

State police forces have been ordered to provide any assistance the AFP may require.

When the AFP launched its inquiry in May, the NSW and Victorian internal affairs departments had already begun looking into the discovery of weapons which should have been destroyed and the police management of the scheme. Among the allegations being investigated by the AFP are:

There are also allegations that personnel at police and military armouries had manufactured weapons from spare parts to make money from the cash-back scheme launched by the Federal Government in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre.

Dozens of police and military personnel have been interviewed but no charges yet laid.

The AFP and Army and Defence Minister John Moore refused to comment on the issue for "operational reasons".

A spokesman for Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone yesterday confirmed Majorca was still continuing.

"The AFP became involved early May when they were asked to provide assistance in an inquiry which was already ongoing in the defence forces," the spokesman said. "The AFP is currently assisting and as is the case with all ongoing matters nothing more can be said."
That's because we are too embarrassed to comment.

A NSW police spokesman confirmed NSW officers had investigated missing weapons early on in the handing back scheme. But they could not confirm their own officers were being investigated. Police sources said the AFP and SIB investigations had been made difficult by the poor accounting of weapons stocks held.

They said both military and civilian police who had investigated earlier thefts in the mid-1990s with no real results, were also being investigated. The investigation is expected to take some time because police have to cross-check hundreds of thousands of weapon serial numbers. According to official figures, more than 650,000 weapons had been handed back in by the community at a cost of about $315 million. The Federal Government set aside $500 million, taken from a rise in the Medicare levy, to pay for the scheme.

From The Sunday Times, Australia.

Police want greater seizure powers


29nov98 A SENIOR WA [Western Australia] police officer has called for tougher powers to to allow them to seize proceeds of crime.

Assistant Commissioner John Standing said yesterday: "The proceeds of crime legislation is not enough. It needs to get stronger. Our legislators need to review the issue in relation to the reality of what we are trying to deal with.

"Where are all the proceeeds of crime going?

"Mostly back into the empires they (criminals) are building to facilitate further expansion of their criminal activities."

Police particularly want the tough legislation in the fight against bikies.

Presently police have to prove that property seized has been used in a crime or bought with the proceeds of crime.

They want to be able to seize goods and put the burden of proof on the criminal.
This is similar to the U.S. "RICO" act. Using this kind of law, authorities can claim your property has involvement with crime, confiscate it and make you prove otherwise at great legal expense - a complete contradiction of innocent until proven guilty.

Mr Standing was talking during a visit to Perth Colonel Reuben Greenberg chief of the US Charleston Police Department. Colonel Greenberg's 510 officers have tough powers to police their city of 110,000. They can strip the bikies of their bikes and clean out the furniture from a prostitute's hotel room.

His crime fighting methods reduced homicides and burglaries by 50 per cent, took 30 per cent of drug dealers off the streets and drove prostitution out of the city in three months.

His police oppose all parole and over two years successfully stopped the early release of every priosner.

"We have laws where we can seize property and it will never be seem again," Colonel Greenberg said. "We can seize houses, motorbikes, cars, offices, furniture.

"The police get that money.

"That money is turned over to the police.

"It can only be spent by the police to fight drug dealers and other crimes.

"It means they are fighting the crime fight against themselves."
Wait a minute. Can't you hear the Chief's speech to his troops? "Fellas, our budget is tight this year so there won't be any raises, unless we seize a lot of property that can be sold off. That'll free up capital dollars for things like radios and equipment. Then we might have a surplus in the budget and you'll all get raises." If that doesn't sound like an incentive for cops to try to seize any property of value and claim it's related to some crime, I don't know what does. Keep in mind that if the cops seize your $800 night vision binoculars, just getting a lawyer to get them back might cost you well over $2000. Is that worth it? Most people just give up due to the cost.

When bikies take to the highways they are kept under watch and must obey every road rule or be charged and arrested.

"Their greatest dislike is the towing of their motorctycles," the [U.S.] colonel said.

"We tow them in the way most efficent and least expensive to us.

"We have them on the back of a tow truck swinging in the breeze back and forth. They hate this worse than anything else.

"Simply going to jail is unimportant to them but when their bike goes to jail that is a different thing."

The non-parole policy was developed to prevent repeat offences and a revolving prison door synrome.

"The biggest success was fronting criminals in prison before they were released on parole. We oppose parole of rapists, armed robbers and burglars because it doesn't work. We go to the parole board to try and defeat the application taking the victim with us."

He said 86 per cent of burglars in the US released early on parole are re-arrested within two years.

"We were so successful with our programme that in 1994 and 1995, 100 per cent of people were denied parole. We won every single case. If people are still in jail they are not going to be recidivists and repeat offenders. There had to be a crackdown on criminals in such a way that we prevented crime."

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