U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Stop Arson

NCJ Number
Conserve Neighborhoods Issue: 22 Dated: Special issue (January 1982) Pages: complete issue
Date Published
20 pages
This booklet focuses on the causes of arson, the identification of potential arson problems in a neighborhood, and steps community organizations can take to combat arson. Groups can also use these materials as a guide for eliminating fire hazards and boosting residents' fire prevention awareness.
While older neighborhoods struggling with vacant and deteriorated housing are particularly vulnerable to arson, areas experiencing redevelopment and speculation are also ripe for this crime. The guide suggests that groups or individuals concerned about arson first contact the fire department for data on past fires and potential hazards and then prepare a fire map index. Neighborhood groups should also forge strong ties with the firefighters and help them by conducting visual inspections of fire hydrants and call boxes. Steps for mobilizing an effective neighborhood campaign against accidental and intentional fire begin with informal block meetings and move to a formal block network similar to neighborhood crime watches. The network should encourage residents to become acquainted with each other and their daily routines and report any new fire hazards or partially occupied buildings. Neighborhood groups can also organize periodic cleanup days to eliminate hazards such as overgrown lots, abandoned cars, and trash in vacant buildings which then can be sealed up. The guide identifies characteristics of buildings vulnerable to arson for profit and explains how to conduct a paper chase through public records to identify owners of high-risk and burned-out buildings. Also discussed are organizing an arson task force, publicity in an antiarson campaign lobbying for legislative reform regarding penalties for arson, restrictions on jurisdictional authority of police and fire personnel, and insurance practices. The issue provides examples of community antiarson programs, photographs, 10 references, and a list of resource organizations.