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Researching Arson-for-Profit - A Manual for Investigators and Prosecutors

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1981
This manual outlines the processes required to develop an arson research system and describes the operation of the Arson-for-Profit Information Analysis Project of New York City.

The New York City project began in November 1979 and initiated case referral service in July 1980. The system is designed to provide easy access to the administrative records of public and private agencies. It can be used to gather information on many properties during the initial phase of an arson investigation and targets possible suspects. The five basic categories of information relevant to arson-for-profit investigation and prosecution and suitable for inclusion in a research system include parties with interest in property, building conditions, previous fire history, financial records of property, and insurance information. Based on the New York City project, various processes necessary to integrate these records into an arson research system can be identified. They include interviewing arson investigators and prosecutors to determine information needs; identifying, evaluating, and categorizing relevant records; developing a process for accessing records; establishing case referral and processing procedures; determining data storage requirements; and developing a method for evaluating the effects of the system. Over 2,600 cases have been referred to the project in New York City, and the system established there can be applied to other jurisdictions. Sample forms are provided.

Date Published: September 1, 1981