Arson can be one of the most frustrating crimes committed, simply because it can cause so much damage and hurt so many people. One building that is set ablaze by a serial arsonist can affect the buildings next to it, and a chain reaction could create chaos. Intentional fires are being set throughout the United States, but a recent case in Queens, NY has caused terror in the neighborhood and highlighted the fear that arson damage can cause.
The Arson Case In Queens
According to the New York Daily News, a serial arsonist has targeted a neighborhood in Queens and has started to cause problems in the neighborhood. Along with the damage from the fire, residents are also experiencing health problems such as smoke inhalation. The other problem is that the neighboring structures are starting to experience arson damage, and that has the entire neighborhood on edge.
The most recent target was a construction site where a new home was being built. The frustrating part of this case for investigators is that this is the second intentional fire started on this site. While investigators are not ruling out other options, they remain confident that they are dealing with the same serial arsonist for both fires.
Up to four homes have been burned to the ground by this one suspect, and there is a fear that hate could be the motivation. The homes that have been burned, even the ones under construction, have all been owned by members of the Bukharian Jewish community. However, until the police capture the arsonist, their motivation will not be known.
Arson Is A Problem In The United States
According to the Insurance Information Institute, arsonists destroyed $729 million in property in the United States in 2014. This data includes all types of structure fires, including fires intentionally set to public and private vehicles. While the number of intentional fires has been steadily dropping, the amount of property damage has been on the rise. The jump from property damage due to arson from 2013 to 2014 was 10 percent, and that number is set to jump again.
Being Diligent Is Still The Answer
In Queens, the police were able to release a surveillance video of the arson suspect roaming around the construction site before it was set on fire. In the past, the lack of surveillance cameras in the United States meant that many arson crimes went unpunished. But, with more and more homeowners and businesses installing perimeter cameras, arsonists are being caught on film and, eventually, caught by the police.
However, people should not feel relaxed because of the growing presence of cameras. Arson is a crime that can quickly turn into murder, and the damage from the fire can cause some families serious financial hardships. The best way for people to combat arson is to remain vigilant in their own neighborhoods and report at suspicious activity they see.
While people should remain vigilant, it is important for residents to rely on the police to handle arson cases. If you see an arson in progress, you should call the police immediately. If you act on your own, then you may find yourself the subject of a lawsuit. When citizens and the police work together, then many of the city’s problems can get solved.