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NCJ Number: 52297 Find in a Library
Title: ARSON - SOME COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: Alliance of American Insures
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Alliance of American Insures
Chicago, IL 60606
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: STATISTICS INDICATING THE EXTENT OF ARSON AND A VARIETY OF PROGRAMS DESIGNED TO DETER THE CRIME ARE PRESENTED.
Abstract: ARSON IS THE NATION'S FASTEST GROWING CRIME, WITH CONFIRMED ARSON CASES AND SUSPICIOUS FIRES RISING BY 25.9 PERCENT IN 1975, WHILE FIRES OF AN ACCIDENTAL NATURE INCREASED BY ONLY 4.1 PERCENT ACCORDING TO FIGURES FROM THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION. LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY, LOST JOBS, LOST PROPERTY TAX REVENUE, HIGHER INSURANCE PREMIUMS, INCREASE IN THE COST OF GOODS AND SERVICES TO CONSUMERS, AND TAX MONEY SPENT TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ARSON CASES ARE THE COSTS OF ARSON. STILL, INDIFFERENCE AND INACTION ARE THE PREVALENT REACTIONS TO ARSON BECAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING EVIDENCE FOR PROSECUTION AND THE SEEMING IMPOSSIBILITY OF MANAGING THE PROBLEM. THE LACK OF QUALIFIED INVESTIGATORS IS A MAJOR FACTOR IN THE RAPID GROWTH OF THE CRIME RATE AND A DIMINISHING ARREST RATE. AS AN EXAMPLE OF AN EFFORT TO COMBAT THIS WEAKNESS, A PROGRAM IN HOUSTON, TEX., IS DESCRIBED, WHICH INCREASES INVESTIGATORY EXPERTISE WITHOUT INCREASING THE NUMBER OF PERSONNEL. ALL OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT'S 2,500 MEMBERS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A 12-HOUR PROGRAM IN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF ARSON INVESTIGATION. THE COURSE PROVIDES BACKGROUND ON ARSON AT LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEVELS, THE EXTENT OF ITS DESTRUCTIVENESS, ITS EFFECT ON THE ECONOMY, INSURANCE RATES, THE CRIMES ALLIED TO ARSON, THE HAZARDS OF ARSON FOR THE FIREFIGHTER, AND TECHNIQUES FOR CONTROLLING ARSON. SPECIFIC TECHNIQUES FOR INVESTIGATING ARSON ARE TAUGHT. A 3-WEEK COURSE, CONSISTING OF 118 HOURS OF WORK, EXPANDS ON THE BASIC SUBJECTS FOR FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS. THOSE WHO WILL BECOME ARSON INVESTIGATORS ARE TRAINED IN A 5-WEEK 200 HOUR PROGRAM CONDUCTED BY ARSON INVESTIGATORS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, ATTORNEYS, AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. SUCCESS IN REDUCING FIRE LOSS IN HOUSTON IS NOTED. ARGUMENTS, PRO AND CON, FOR PLACING ARSON IN THE 'PART I' CRIME CATEGORY IN THE UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS ARE PRESENTED. LEGISLATIVE SUGGESTIONS TO DETER ARSON ARE PRESENTED, ALONG WITH EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT PROGRAMS. ELEMENTS OF A MODEL ARSON LAW PROPOSED BY THE AMERICAN MUTUAL INSURANCE ALLIANCE ARE PRESENTED. COMPONENTS NEEDED IN AN ARSON TASK FORCE ARE ALSO DISCUSSED AND ILLUSTRATED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Arson; Community involvement; Deterrence; Legislation; Model law; Statistics; Texas; Training; Workshops and seminars
Note: REPRINTED FROM JOURNAL OF AMERICAN INSURANCE
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