A REGION containing Dubbo had the highest rate of firearm theft for any area of the state last year.
It was one of the findings published in the Criminal Offences Involving Firearms in New South Wales, 1995-2011 report prepared by the New South Wales Bureau Of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
In 2011, there were 640 firearms stolen in 203 incidents of firearm theft recorded in NSW.
Of these 203 incidents, 23 were in the North Western region (containing Dubbo).
The figure translated to a rate of 19.6 per 100,000 population, many times higher than the rate of 0.8 recorded by Sydney and 6.4 for the rest of NSW.
The Northern region had the second highest rate at 14.7, followed by Murray (10.5), Central West (9.8), Mid-North Coast (8.1) and Murrumbidgee (6.5).
While the rate of firearm theft was much higher in the rest of NSW than it was in Sydney in 2011, four areas of Sydney accounted for more than half the shoot with intent incidents in NSW.
Last year, Outer South Western Sydney, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield-Liverpool and Central Western Sydney made up 52.5 per cent of reported shoot with intent incidents in NSW.
This consisted of 59 incidents statewide, with 31 of them in those four sub-divisions of Sydney and 28 from the remainder of NSW.
The report's authors pointed out that with the exception of attempted murder, firearms were not frequently involved in violent criminal offences in NSW and shooting offences tended to occur more frequently in metropolitan areas.
From 1995 to 2011, the rate of shoot with intent incidents per 100,000 population in Sydney was consistently higher than the rate in the rest of NSW.
Firearms were recorded in 51 per cent of attempted murder incidents but only 14 per cent of murders involved firearms, 7 per cent of robbery incidents involved firearms and less than 1 per cent of assault incidents involved firearms in 2011.
The authors also pointed out most categories of crime involving firearms have decreased or remained stable since 1995, with "particularly marked falls in the number of robbery incidents involving a firearm."