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

Toward Comprehensive Anti-Arson Programs

NCJ Number
T M Hammett
Date Published
145 pages
Based on five cooperative antiarson programs, this report advises criminal justice professionals about comprehensive approaches to arson control.
It names three major 'building blocks' of cooperative antiarson programs: linkages between community groups and public agencies, community groups and insurance companies, and public agencies and insurance agencies. Experiences in Philadelphia; Providence, R.I.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; San Francisco; and Boston highlight the report. After describing problems in implementing antiarson programs, the report notes that shared objectives, realistic strategies, credibility, political power and influence, persistence, and compromise are important for improved communication between community groups and public agencies. Strategies for improving cooperation with insurance companies include allaying fears of legal action and intervention strategies. Three basic models for comprehensive programs are the 'blue ribbon' task force, the 'working' task force, and the program situated in a public agency with full-time staff and overseen by community and city representatives. Strategies for implementing comprehensive antiarson programs include clarifying responsibilities and legal status of the participating public agencies and private groups, maximizing program efficiency and productivity, working effectively with government agencies and with the general community, working effectively with insurers and private investigators, and targeting antiarson activities. Methods presented have produced promising results in some cities. Footnotes, 11 exhibits, and 3 appendixes giving survey methodology, legislation, and materials from the Boston Arson Prevention Commission. (Executive summary modified)