skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 63869 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: ARSON IN AMERICA - REPORT OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS MADE BY ITS PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, 96TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION
Author(s): ANON
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 71
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Publication Number: REPORT NO 96-000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislative/Regulatory Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: BASED ON CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS, THE REPORT DESCRIBES THE INCREASING INCIDENCE OF ARSON IN THE UNITED STATES, THE ROLE OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY, AND PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN INVESTIGATING THIS CRIME.
Abstract: ARSON HAS BECOME HIGHLY PROFITABLE IN MANY METROPOLITAN AREAS; LANDLORDS PROFIT FROM INSURANCE CLAIMS FOR BURNED, DETERIORATED BUILDINGS, AND FIRES CAUSE PROPERTY VALUES TO FALL, BENEFITING THE SPECULATOR AND ROBBING CITIES OF TAX REVENUES. ARSON FIRES NOT ONLY CAUSE IMMENSE ECONOMIC DAMAGES, BUT ALSO BRING INJURIES, DISLOCATION, AND FINANCIAL RUIN TO THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES, PARTICULARLY IN URBAN AREAS. TESTIMONY FROM PROFESSIONAL ARSONISTS DEMONSTRATES A TOTAL LACK OF CONCERN ABOUT APPREHENSION AND THE ENORMOUS FINANCIAL GAINS THAT CAN BE MADE. ARSON IS FREQUENTLY COMMITTED BY SOPHISTICATED ORGANIZATIONS MAKING DETECTION AND PROSECUTION DIFFICULT. INSURANCE COMPANIES PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR ARSON AND SHOULD MONITOR AGENTS CAREFULLY, INSPECT ALL INSURED PROPERTIES, AND IMPROVE CLAIMS INVESTIGATIONS. LOCAL AND STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUSPECTED ARSON CASES, BUT FACE MANY PROBLEMS INCLUDING ORGANIZED CRIME ACTIVITY IN ARSON AND LACK OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE FOR DETECTING ARSON BY THE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS. THE FBI, THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, AND THE BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND FIREARMS CAN PURSUE ARSON INVESTIGATIONS IF THEY RELATE TO CRIMES WITHIN THEIR JURISDICTION, BUT ONLY THE LATTER TWO AGENCIES HAVE SHOWN ANY INTEREST IN SUCH CASES. THE FEDERAL INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION (FIA) WHICH OVERSEES THE STATE-RUN FAIR ACCESS TO INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS PLANS (FAIR) IS AWARE THAT THIS PROGRAM MAY ENCOURAGE ARSON AND HAS TAKEN TENTATIVE STEPS TO RESTRUCTURE ITS POLICIES. WITH THE CRIME OF ARSON OUT OF CONTROL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS FRAGMENTED, RECOMMENDATIONS MUST POINT TO A MORE ACTIVE FEDERAL ROLE IN ARSON INVESTIGATIONS, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE TO IMPROVE COORDINATION, AND SUPPORT FOR MAKING ARSON A CLASS I CRIME. THE APPENDIXES CONTAIN CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE COMMITTEE, THE FIA, AND HUD CONCERNING THE FAIR PROGRAM. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Arson; Arsonists; Insurance fraud; Interagency cooperation; Organized crime
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63869

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.