If we are to effectively address the arson problem in our community, every citizen must participate in combating this vicious crime. This means understanding the impact arson has on the community and doing what you can to prevent it. By following the tips provided, you can help to protect your property from becoming a target for an arsonist. Many arson fires occur out of doors and with materials that are easily accessible. Survey the areas around your home, garage, carport and out buildings being sure to pay close attention to the items listed below:
- Keep doors and windows locked when a building is unoccupied. Board up abandoned buildings. Do not use double cylinder deadbolt locks without keeping a key nearby, bars without quick release mechanisms, or other security provisions that could trap a person in a building with a deadly fire.
- Store all flammable liquids such as paints and gasoline in an approved storage location. Locking cabinets and storage units can also prevent access to kids. Keep all flammables and combustibles away from heat sources such as furnaces and any type of heaters.
- Report suspicious activity near houses or other buildings to the local police and support Neighborhood Watch programs.
- Keep leaves, firewood, overgrown brush and shrubbery and other combustibles away from buildings.
- If you suspect a child is setting fires, notify the proper authorities. It may not be "just a phase" they are going through. Keep matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight of young children.
Keep outside lights turned on at night. Consider installing light fixtures with build-in motion sensors.*
If you know, or suspect, that an arson crime has been committed contact Sanford Police Department at 407.688.5199, or Crimeline at 1.800.423.TIPS. Any information you have could be important, so don ’ t hesitate to call. You don't have to leave your name, and you can call 24 hours a day. You could make the difference between a crime going unsolved and putting an arsonist behind bars.
*Arson Prevention.” Arson Alarm Foundation, Inc. Electronic. NW Insurance Council. No date. (http://arsonalarm.org/Arson%20Prevention/Arson%20Prevention.htm).