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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77349 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Arson
Corporate Author: Factory Mutual System
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Factory Mutual System
Norwood, MA 02062
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
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This booklet illustrates some of the clues that arson investigators look for, describes a model arson investigation team, and presents the results of a survey of fire chiefs' opinions on how to combat arsonists.
Abstract: The clues are depicted in seven photographs accompanied by case descriptions and are concerned with fire patterns, manmade fire paths, ignition techniques, and the placement of combustibles. The photos were provided by the Lynn arson investigation unit (Massachusetts), which is presented as a model for other communities. Four firefighters and two policemen have full responsibility to investigate, arrest, and prosecute arsonists. The team has its own FBI-trained photographer and a specialist in the financial (particularly insurance) aspects of investigations. After every fire of undetermined origin, a postfire interview is conducted. On a specially designed form, information concerning insurance coverage, adjustment, mortgage, and ownership history is collected. The forms provide the basis for extensive, cross-referenced files of fires, bankruptcy and insurance information, and banker and tradesmen data. Over a 2-year period, the unit saved over $1,600,000 in fraudulent insurance claims. The results of a survey conducted at an International Association of Fire Chiefs conference showed that about 70 percent of the respondents' fire departments had a unit to investigate incendary fires. Of these, 60 percent included police officers as members of the unit. The respondents' views on the current weaknesses in incendiary investigations and on how the insurance industry could help combat arson are also presented, and antiarson activities in six communities are described. A brief review of incendiary targets rounds off these discussions.
Index Term(s): Anti-Arson Programs; Arson; Arson investigations; Arsonists; Crime prevention measures; Massachusetts
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