The United States Fire Administration (USFA) announces the theme for the 2010 Arson Awareness Week (AAW): Community Arson Prevention. USFA and its partners will use the week of May 2nd to the 8th to focus public attention on the value of community arson prevention and the resources and support available to reduce this crime.
The goal for this year’s AAW is to focus attention on the horrific crime of arson and provide communities with tools and strategies to combat arson in their neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and places of worship. The USFA is partnering with the International Association of Arson Investigators, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, USAonWatch, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Volunteer Fire Council, and the Insurance Committee for Arson Control.
“A strong neighborhood is the backbone of our cities and towns,” said Kelvin J. Cochran, United States Fire Administrator. “A community arson prevention program can generate a spirit of teamwork bringing law enforcement, the fire service, and the people together to combat the crime of arson.”
According to the USFA’s NFIRS data and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated average of 316,600 intentional fires are reported to fire departments in the United States each year, causing injuries to 7,825 firefighters and civilians. In 2006, ten firefighters died as a result of arson. In addition to needless injury and death, an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property loss occurs annually.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2008 Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics showed that 14,011 law enforcement agencies reported 62,807 arsons. Arsons involving structures (e.g., residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 43.4 percent of the total number of arson offenses. Mobile property (e.g., cars, motorcycles, etc.) was involved in 28.9 percent of arsons, and other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 27.7 percent of reported arsons.
The average dollar loss for all types of arson was $16,015. Average arson damages for structures were $32,364 and $7,890 for motor vehicles. Arsons of industrial and manufacturing structures resulted in the highest average dollar losses — an average of $212,388 per arson.
Arson robs communities of its valuable assets – lives and property. Arson destroys more than buildings; it can devastate a community resulting in the decline of the neighborhood through increased insurance premiums, loss of business revenue, and a decrease in property values.
For more information, including a media kit for the 2010 Arson Awareness Week campaign, please visit the USFA’s Web site at www.usfa.dhs.gov.