This week, May 5th - 11th, 2013 is National Arson Awareness Week. "The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines arson as any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc."
The FBI reports, last available in 2010, gives the following statistics:
• In 2010, 15,475 law enforcement agencies provided 1-12 months of arson data and reported 56,825 arsons. Of the participating agencies, 14,747 provided expanded offense data regarding 48,619 arsons.
• Arsons involving structures (e.g., residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 45.5 percent of the total number of arson offenses. Mobile property was involved in 26.0 percent of arsons, and other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 28.5 percent of reported arsons.
• The average dollar loss due to arson was $17,612.
• Arsons of industrial/manufacturing structures resulted in the highest average dollar losses (an average of $133,717 per arson).
• Arson offenses decreased 7.6 percent in 2010 when compared with arson data reported in 2009. (See Table 12.)
• Nationwide, there were 19.6 arson offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants.
What this data does NOT reflect is the number of Firefighters and other responders injured or killed responding to intentionally set fires. For those statistics, we go to an article on the NFPA website, the executive summary of "Intentional Fires", published in 2010 authored by John R. Hall, Jr. is available. This study culled the data from 2003- 2007 and found:
Fire departments responded to an estimated 53,600 intentional structure fires annually during 2003-2007. These fires resulted in:
• 387 civilian deaths
• 1,141 civilian injuries
• $922 million in direct property damage
He also reported that, "Also in 2007, three firefighters died on scene or during response to intentional fires, and 6,100 firefighters were injured at the scene of intentional fires. In 2008, 18% of arson offenses were cleared by arrest or exceptional means."
18% clearance, or about 1 in 5 reported. Arson must be prevented.
Please take a moment and look at the resources provided by the NFPA this week, and especially the resources provided by the US Fire Administration on preventing Arson in your community. Please stay safe out there.