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Let's Standardize the Arson Laws

NCJ Number
K R Adams; C Delbeke; J E Griggs; M E Hennessy; E H Klesmit; H Lins; G B Martin; P P Mathieu; P D Robbins; R A Tibbetts; R L Wright
Date Published
8 pages
The national standardization and enforcement of arson laws would reduce the influence of politics on efforts to counter arson, facilitate intelligence sharing between States, benefit insurance companies, and enhance training for dealing with arson.
The enactment of a national model arson law to replace all local arson laws would streamline the criminal justice system's dealing with arson, prevent private or political motives from weakening arson legislation in certain States and localities, and simplify prosecution of arson defendants. With the adoption of a nationwide arson law, all professionals addressing the crime would have a common understanding of the law, thus contributing to uniformity in investigative techniques, evidence gathering, and criminal justice processing. Further, since arson would have a common definition in all States, communication among arson investigators across jurisdictions regarding possible suspects could increase. Currently, the training of the insurance agent/adjuster/investigator is based in the arson law of his/her home jurisdiction. Upon relocation, a new set of arson statutes must be learned. A national arson law would reduce training costs. Moreover, a standarized law would provide a solid base from which to develop courses and training in arson law for all professionals with responsibility for handling arson cases. Four bibliographic listings are provided. The content of the Model Arson Law is explained.


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