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NCJ Number: 63106 Find in a Library
Title: ARSON - A PART ONE CRIME
Journal: LAW AND ORDER  Volume:27  Issue:11  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1979)  Pages:14,16-19
Author(s): M LANE
Corporate Author: Copp Organization, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Copp Organization, Inc
New York, NY 10018
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TECHNIQUES FOR POLICE OFFICERS TO USE IN INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS FIRES ARE DESCRIBED.
Abstract: BECAUSE ARSON IS A PART ONE CRIME, FIRE INVESTIGATIONS ARE A PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS. AN INVESTIGATION SHOULD START IMMEDIATELY AFTER A FIRE HAS OCCURRED. FIRE OFFICERS CAN INFORM POLICE ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE BUILDING WHEN THEY ARRIVED AND PATTERNS OF THE FIRE. THEY SHOULD BE QUESTIONED CONCERNING THE FIRE LOAD, POINT OF FIRE'S ORIGIN, AND METHOD OF ENTRY. SOME INVESTIGATORS USE A GAS HYDROCARBON DETECTOR, OR SNIFFER, TO DETERMINE THE PRESENCE OF LIQUID ACCELERANTS, BUT BECAUSE SNIFFERS ALSO DETECT HYDROCARBONS THAT ARE NOT GERMAINE TO A FIRE INVESTIGATION, THEY SHOULD BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A VISUAL ASSESSMENT OF BURN PATTERNS. POLICE OFFICERS SHOULD PLACE DEBRIS FOR LABORATORY ANALYSIS IN METAL CANS, NOT PLASTIC CONTAINERS BECAUSE HYDROCARBONS FROM PLASTIC CAN CONTAMINATE THE EVIDENCE. CANS SHOULD NOT BE PLACED IN A WARM CAR AND LEFT FOR SEVERAL HOURS. MANY INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE EMPHASIZING FIRE INVESTIGATIONS, AND AN ARSON INVESTIGATION MUST BE PREPARED CAREFULLY SINCE IT COULD DEVELOP INTO A FRAUD INVESTIGATION. THE POLICE NEED TO CHECK ALL RECORDS CONCERNING THE BURNED BUILDING, INCLUDING A TITLE SEARCH TO ASCERTAIN OWNERSHIP. INSURANCE ADJUSTORS CAN ALERT POLICE OFFICERS TO POSSIBLE ARSON SITUATIONS. THE INVESTIGATION OF A FIRE IS DIRTY AND TEDIOUS WORK, BUT IS NECESSARY TO COMBAT FRAUD BY UNSCRUPULOUS INSURANCE HOLDERS. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Arson; Crime Scene Investigation; Criminal investigation; Evidence collection; Firefighters; Insurance fraud
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63106

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