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News and Events

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2014
State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan
NH State Fire Marshal's Office
(603) 223-4289

Arson Awareness Week May 4-10, 2014

At the request of State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has declared May 4-10, 2014 as Arson Awareness Week. The New Hampshire State Fire Marshals Office, The New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs', and The New Hampshire Fire Prevention Society along with The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are partnering with the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI); Safe Kids USA; National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC); and the National Association of State Fire Marshals to announce the theme for the 2014 Arson Awareness Week (AAW): "Vehicle Arson – A Combustible Crime."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program indicates that over the last 10 years (2003-2012) there has been an average of 14,737 vehicle arsons reported, accounting for 26.5 percent of total arsons annually.

The goal for this year's Arson Awareness Week is to focus on the importance of a collaborative effort with fire and emergency service departments, law enforcement, insurance companies and the justice system to help reduce the unscrupulous crime of vehicle arson. Marshal Degnan said, "The motivations behind the burning of vehicles are similar to those of other types of arson crimes." The most common motive: revenge.

According to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, the most common motive (41%) for an arsonist is revenge. An arsonist will target the home of someone in retaliation for an actual or perceived injustice against him or her. A car is viewed as an extension of the individual and is a very personal target for revenge arson.

Degnan wants everyone to be diligent and offers these tips to help prevent vehicle arson crimes.

Tips to prevent vehicle arson

  • Park your car in a well-lit area.
  • Use a secure parking lot for extended periods.
  • Close all windows.
  • Remove the key from the ignition.
  • Always lock doors, trunk and tailgate.
  • Use antitheft devices.
  • Report abandoned cars to the police.
  • Don't leave valuables in plain sight.
  • Use a recovery system, such as GPS or Lojack.
   
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