Fire / Arson Investigation

Arson Facts

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports that half of all intentional structure fires are started in the home. These fires result in 85 percent of the civilian deaths, 82 percent of civilian injuries and 64 percent of direct property damage from intentional structure fires.

Five percent of fires in homes are intentionally started.

The F.B.I.’s 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 (crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for the other 27.7 percent of reported arsons.

Average dollar loss for all types of arson was $16,015 per incident. For structures, arson damages averaged $32,364 and $7,890 for motor vehicles.

Arsons of industrial and manufacturing structures resulted in the highest loss—an average of $212,388 per arson.
The national arson conviction rate is one percent. Hidalgo County’s arson conviction rate is 26 percent.

How to Prevent Arson

Clean up your neighborhood by removing all garbage, materials, and excess vegetation that is capable of being ignited.

Remove sources of ignition such as old gasoline containers.

Remove abandoned vehicles (most car fires are set to cover up other crimes) and keep a close eye on abandoned homes, which are frequent targets for vandalism and arson.

Contact public works to disconnect all utilities at abandoned properties, including natural gas, water and electricity.

Encourage a neighborhood watch system. Write down suspicious people’s characteristics, cars and actions.