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Using Crime Prevention to Reduce Deliberate Bushfires in Australia

NCJ Number
Damon A. Muller
Date Published
53 pages
This study examined risk factors for arson and those who commit arson in Australia.
Statistics show that approximately half of all vegetation fires throughout Australia are the result of deliberate ignitions. Deliberate bushfires constitute a considerable proportion of the fire suppression activities of Australian fire agencies. Although these deliberate bushfires tend to be smaller and more accessible than natural fires, they tend to be lit in areas in which they can do considerable damage and which require prompt suppression, such as interface zones. Besides potential damage to life and property posed by deliberate fires, responding to these fires can monopolize the resources of fire agencies. Preventing the fire before it actually occurs should be the preferred option where possible since legal response is limited because of insufficient evidence. Prevention not only avoids the potential damage that the fire may cause, but also frees up the resources of the fire services for suppression of other fires. Prevention should neither be considered incompatible with criminal justice sanctions for bushfire arson, nor a soft option alternative to punishment, but rather another valuable tool to reduce deliberate bushfires in Australia. Figures, tables, and references


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