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Arson Can Destroy Communities
Guest, May 7, 2013 | Public Safety
By Jeff Garfin, Fire Inspector
Arson is a difficult crime to prove. Many fires that are categorized by an investigator to be “undetermined” are often times arson.
Arson in Edina:
- Edina does not have the arson problem that larger cities have, but arson does exist in our city.
- From small fires in garbage cans, dumpster fires and playground equipment fires, to school fires and even structure fires, we do have arson in Edina.
- Any incendiary (arson) fire costs all of us, not just financially, but it also bruises the pride we all share in living or working in Edina.
Arson is a crime against every Minnesotan!
- The motives behind arson are often curiosity, vandalism, concealing another crime, excitement, revenge, insurance fraud or arson for profit.
Arson in Minnesota:
- Arson destroys more than buildings – it can devastate a community. Arson ranges from youngsters setting nuisance fires to a full-blown crisis with a serial arsonist. An arson conviction can result in a fine of up to $35,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison.
- In Minnesota, there were 1,122 identified, purposefully set (incendiary) fires in 2011. The value of property destroyed was estimated at more than $8 million.
- Arson was the fourth leading cause of fire in Minnesota in 2011.
- Fires in residential properties accounted for 65 percent of all incendiary fires reported in 2011 with a dollar loss of more than $5 million.
Arson Over Time:
- In the last 23 years, incendiary fires caused 56 deaths and more than $333.7 million in property loss in Minnesota alone.
- Incendiary fires must continue to be addressed through such efforts as the Arson Reward Program, the Arson Suspect Pointer System and Juvenile Fire setter Intervention Programs.
What You Can Do:
- Get involved in a neighborhood watch program. Neighbors can reduce the likelihood of arson by promoting neighborhood watches, educating people about recognizing and reporting unusual activity and improving neighborhood security.
- If you have information about an arson, call the arson tip line at 800-723-2020.
Youth Fire setting:
- If a child in your life demonstrates an interest in fire that concerns you, there are resources available.
- If you suspect, or find evidence that a child is setting even small fires, seek help. Fire play is not a normal part of childhood.
- Nationally, children under 18 set more than half of all arson fires.
- Fire setting behavior is often a symptom of a problem and may be manifested through stress and crisis in children’s lives.
- This is a good blog post about preventing youth fire setting.
For more information: