While the media are getting caught up reporting widespread looting in the aftermath of the Queensland floods, research shows that looting is usually non-existent after a natural disaster -- and that media reports of looting are putting lives at risk.

The Australian is today reporting that Queensland Police has set up a special 200-strong anti-looting taskforce, even though the article later admits that there have only been a "handful" of reports of looting. And Ipswich mayor Paul Pisdale has been widely quoted as saying "If I find anybody looting in our city they will be used as flood markers". According to his fellow councillor Paul Tully, "The residents I’ve been speaking with at our evacuation centers today are despondent and the thoughts that their properties are being looted are devastating."