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Fighting Arson - An Update on Illinois' Cooperative Effort

NCJ Number
Date Published
48 pages
The cooperative effort in Illinois to prevent arson from destroying lives and property is working, with fraudulent insurance claims continuing to decline and prosecutions leading to more convictions and lengthy jail sentences.
In January 1980, the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, Federal agencies, other local governments in the State, the insurance industry, and community organizations began a cooperative and vigorous assault on arson, which can serve as a national model. Throughout Illinois, improved reporting systems, better trained arson investigators, and skilled prosecutors are making prosecution a real threat to the 'torch.' Cook County's 63-percent conviction rate for accused adult arsonists brought to trial is the highest in the Nation. Legislation designed to address the arson/fraud issue was passed in Illinois and signed into law on September 1, 1980. It gives the Illinois Department of Insurance and other agencies the necessary legal support to work with various parties to develop comprehensive programs to curb arson. The report describes the coordinated efforts of the insurance industry and the City of Chicago to encourage the public to provide information on arsonists (cash awards are given periodically), the Metropolitan Chicago Loss Bureau, the Property Insurance Loss Register, and the Computerized Arson Prevention System. The function and interrelationship of the Arson Task Force also are examined.