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NCJ Number: 67277 Find in a Library
Title: COMBATING ARSON IN SEATTLE, DECEMBER 5, 1977 (FROM ARSON-FOR-PROFIT - ITS IMPACT ON STATES AND LOCALITIES, P 33-47, 1977 - SEE NCJ-67274)
Author(s): R REVELLE
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: SEATTLE'S ANTI-ARSON PROGRAM HAS ACHIEVED SUCCESS BY COMBINING INTERAGENCY COOPERATION WITH COMPREHENSIVE DATA COLLECTION REGARDING THE INCIDENCE OF ARSON AND WITH EXTENSIVE PUBLIC INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS.
Abstract: THE MAYOR'S TASK FORCE ON ARSON WAS FORMED IN 1975 TO ATTACK AN ARSON PROBLEM THAT HAD JUMPED FROM $621 THOUSAND IN ARSON LOSSES IN 1971 TO AN ESTIMATED $4.4 MILLION IN LOSSES IN 1975. NINE AGENCIES WERE REPRESENTED ON THE TASK FORCE, INCLUDING FIRE AND POLICE DEPARTMENTS, THE MAYOR'S OFFICE, THE SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL, AND THE WASHINGTON INSURANCE COUNCIL. THE SEATTLE FIRE DEPARTMENT'S ARSON INVESTIGATION UNIT WAS PLACED UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF THE FIRE CHIEF, GIVING ARSON INVESTIGATORS GREATER VISIBILITIY AND EMPHASIZING THE CITY'S COMMITMENT TO CONTROLLING ARSON. AN ARSON ANALYSIS PROGRAM HELPED LOCATE ACCURATE INFORMATION ON THE NATURE OF THE LOCAL ARSON PROBLEM, INCLUDING DATA ON WHEN AND WHERE ARSON INCIDENTS OCCUR, WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO COMMIT ARSON AND WHY, THE TYPES OF BUSINESSES AND STRUCTURES TARGETED, AND THE LOCAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S RESPONSE TO ARSON AND THE ARSONIST. ARSON REDUCTION AND PREVENTION PATROLS WERE FORMED TO IDENTIFY PROBLEM AREAS. TWO SKILLED POLICE DEPARTMENT DETECTIVES WERE SENT TO SERVE UNDER THE OPERATIONAL COMMAND OF THE FIRE CHIEF, UNTIL THE ARSON INVESTIGATORS WERE FULLY TRAINED WITH 286 HOURS OF TRAINING FROM THE REGULAR POLICE ACADEMY, 80 OF WHICH WERE IN ARSON INVESTIGATION). LOCAL INSURANCE COMPANIES ASSISTED IN THE PROGRAM BY ESTABLISHED A $5,000 REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF AN ARSONIST AND BY REFUSING TO PAY LARGE-LOSS FIRE CLAIMS WHEN THE POLICY HOLDER WAS SUSPECTED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FIRE. AN ONGOING, EFFECTIVE PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN HELPED TO INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THE PROBLEM AND THE POTENTIAL FOR INCIDENTS. FURTHER, DESPITE THE CITY'S SUCCESS IN LOWERING ARSON INCIDENTS BY 14 PERCENT AND INCREASING ARRESTS AND CONVICTIONS IN 1977, THE CITY WOULD RECOMMEND THAT ARSON BE RECLASSIFIED AS A PART I CRIME. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Firefighters; Offense classification; Washington
Note: PRESENTED TO THE 1977 CONGRESS OF CITIES SPECIAL WORKSHOP ON ARSON, SAN FRANCISCO, DECEMBER 5, 1977
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67277

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