How has arson evolved as a crime in New York?

How has arson evolved as a crime in New York?

Arson became a big issue in New York City in the 1970’s. In fact, arson was what some would even consider a fact of life back then– in 1976, there were 13,752 reported cases of arson. Compare that to 2012 numbers like 2,000 and it is interesting to look back at how this issue evolved and what it means as a crime today.

Arson is defined as the malicious or willful burning of property. This property crime can also be treated as a violent offense, and arson cannot be determined without a special investigation to determine whether the incident in question meets the standards. People who are victims of arson may not even know it since it is sometimes difficult to tell whether a fire was set on purpose or not.

In the 1970s, societal issues were likely the cause of higher numbers of arson incidents. With many vacant buildings and piles of trash because the Sanitation Department had stopped collecting it combined with high levels of drug use and crime to make arson more tempting and popular.

One of the big changes in policy since the 1970s has to do with the fact that investigators were brought to the scene earlier rather than later, making it easier to determine if the event was a suspected arson. The mobilization of the Arson Strike Force is also believed to contribute to lower numbers of arson incidents overall. One of the goals of the force was to collect data to put together a prediction index based on a building’s location and other factors.

Today, being accused of arson still carries stiff criminal penalties, and it is a serious offense if you have been accused. Even if you suspect the charges are bogus, you need to consult with a New York criminal defense attorney to have your rights protected in court. Contact the Law Office of Julie Rendelman, LLC if you have been accused of arson to ensure that you receive the legal representation you deserve and have the right to. Call 212-951-1232 to speak with Ms. Rendleman sooner rather than later.