Shoalhaven Local Area Command has joined the national fight against illegal firearms, urging the community to help prevent rural gun thefts.
The latest figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show 555 firearms were reported stolen in NSW in the 2013-14 financial year.
Since January, 72 long-arms have been stolen in the state’s west, 62 in the north and 40 in the south.
Local Area Commander, acting superintendent Paul Condon, said most thefts were crimes of opportunity, with burglars stealing unsecured weapons during break-ins.
“Normally, it’s a case where thieves break into the property, looking for anything of value, and make off with the weapons,” acting superintendent Condon said.
The intensified focus on rural firearms theft is part of Operation Unification, a national police initiative to locate and seize illegal guns.
The operation runs until Sunday June 29.
“We urge anyone with information about stolen or illegally possessed firearms to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” acting superintendent Condon said.
“You can provide the information anonymously if you wish and we will act.
“We would also like to know if you suspect you have been offered illegal firearms for sale.”
He said data on break-ins across the state showed police that opportunistic thieves were stealing entire gun collections.
“As a community, we can’t afford to see such a large number of firearms in criminal hands,” he said.
“So if you know where they are, tell us and help us keep your community safe,” he said.
The public can phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page www1.police.nsw.gov.au/.
Information provided will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People they should not report crime information on police Facebook and Twitter pages.