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NCJ Number: 78452 Find in a Library
Title: Arson Seminar - Investigating the Arsonist's Motive
Author(s): Anonymous
Date Published: 1978
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Format: Film
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This videotape presents a lecture by W.G. O'Neal, an experienced arson investigator who currently represents the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute (ICPI) in North Carolina.
Abstract: ICPI was organized in 1971 to combat insurance fraud. It is supported by 335 member insurance companies who write 70 percent of the insurance policies in the United States. ICPI has about 100 agents stationed throughout the country. The institute's purposes are to detect the incidence of insurance fraud, to give maximum publicity to insurance fraud, and to educate the public about insurance fraud. ICPI is concerned only with the criminal prosecution of those involved in insurance fraud. Since 1971, ICPI has maintained a conviction rate of 93 to 94 percent. The speaker points out that physical evidence and eyewitnesses are needed to prove a crime occurred. Investigators should not jump to conclusions about the motive before getting all the facts. Motives for arson can be classified into profit and nonprofit motives. Revenge fires and pyromaniac fires are examples of nonprofit motives. However, most arson cases turn out to be motivated by greed (profit). Reasons for setting a fire for profit include an overstocked or outdated inventory, decline of business due to new highway construction or a deteriorating neighborhood, and outdated machinery. Many times the motive for a fire can be found in the insurance claims file, which includes data on when the property was insured, the notice of loss, a statement from the owner listing the contents destroyed and giving proof of loss (such as receipts), photographs, statements from witnesses, and title information. Cases the speaker investigated are used to illustrate his speech. A technological development that will aid in insurance investigations and stop many false claims will soon be implemented -- the Property Insurance Loan Register -- which will be a computer bank listing every claim over $500 throughout the country. This will also prevent people from filing more than one claim on the same item. Questions and answers occur throughout the seminar.
Index Term(s): Arson investigations; Audiovisual aids; District attorneys; Insurance fraud
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