Copycats may be at work in a spate of shootings across Adelaide, South Australia's police chief says.

Since New Year's Eve there have been 13 incidents across the city claiming two lives. The latest came on Sunday when a man was shot at a car wash in the city's north and died later in hospital.

Police Commissioner Gary Burns said people could take some comfort from the fact that the shootings were targeted and not random incidents.

"Generally drugs, debt and domestic relationships are involved in these shootings," Mr Burns told reporters on Monday.

But he said police could not really explain the recent spike.

"It's almost a copycat syndrome that we're talking about," he said.

"The drive-by shooting has been around for some time, and the notoriety of it has been brought about by the motorcycle gangs and their ways of settling arguments.

"Now, obviously some other people might decide that it's a way for them as well, but there's very little to tie motorcycle gangs in with the vast majority of these shootings."

Despite the latest incidents Mr Burns said police had been successful in removing illegal guns from the community through a specialised firearms investigation unit.

So far this financial year, more than 1300 illegal weapons have been seized and there have been 470 arrests or reports for gun-related offences.

Attorney-General John Rau said he had every confidence in the police and their ability to curb the violence, especially given the range of new laws at their disposal.

Those new provisions include bigger sentence reductions for people who provide information on fellow offenders, greater use of metal detectors around pubs and clubs, and provisions to prosecute people who inadvertently help a crime gang.

"The police now have tools they did not previously have, and I am very confident they will use them," Mr Rau said.

In relation to Sunday's shooting, Mr Burns said police were following some strong leads and were also examining closed-circuit video footage from local businesses.

A post-mortem examination of the victim was due to be performed on Monday.


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