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Are Your Vacant Properties Safe from Arson Attacks? How to limit the risk of arson attacks

Are Your Vacant Properties Safe from Arson Attacks? How to limit the risk of arson attacks
Are Your Vacant Properties Safe from Arson Attacks? How to limit the risk of arson attacks

Vacant properties are significantly more vulnerable to arson attacks than occupied properties, with up to sixty fires occurring in, or adjacent to, an empty property in the UK every day.

An empty property that is not regularly inspected or monitored becomes an easy target for vandals, squatters and arsonists. Learn more about void property inspection.

According to the Association of British Insurers, arson attacks are still the largest single cause of fires in England and Wales, costing around £2.1 billion annually.

The human cost is hard to comprehend. More than 2.3 million fires were deliberately started in the last decade, resulting in over 900 deaths and 25,000+ injuries.

Although arson attack incidents have decreased in recent decades, an average week in England still sees 50 injuries and 2 deaths resulting from more than 1600 deliberately started fires.

How to limit the risk of arson attacks on your property

There are some simple steps property owners can take to help significantly reduce the risks of arson attacks:

• Remove flammable materials from inside and close to the site
• Turn off utilities such as gas and electricity
• Regularly inspect and monitor vacant properties
• Install battery-powered fire and intruder alert systems and alarm systems (find out more about our commercial fire alarm installation services).
• Ensure adequate perimeter security is in place

Securing a vacant property’s access points with steel screens and keyless doors is the only way to substantially reduce the risk of both intrusion and arson attacks. Traditional door and window boarding-up services are cheaper, but wooden boards are ineffective against intrusion and will only add fuel to the fire in the event of an arson attack.

Additional security measures to consider for greater protection may include intruder alarms, video verified alarms, CCTV cameras and solar CCTV towers, or the physical presence of a security guard or dog patrol.

The above precautions will help ensure your vacant buildings remain secure and safe, helping to prevent unauthorised entry and the possibility of an arson attack. Learn more about unoccupied property management.

What is an arson attack?

An arson attack is a criminal act in which someone deliberately sets fire to property, buildings, vehicles, or other structures with malicious intent. Arson attacks can cause significant damage, endanger lives, and pose a serious threat to public safety. The motivations behind arson attacks can vary widely and may include vandalism, revenge, insurance fraud, or as a means of concealing other crimes.

Arson is considered a serious offence and is punishable by law. It is typically investigated by law enforcement agencies and may involve forensic analysis to determine the cause of the fire and identify the perpetrator(s). Arson attacks can have devastating consequences for victims, including property loss, financial hardship, and emotional trauma. Preventative measures, such as installing security systems, fire alarms, and surveillance cameras, can help deter arson attacks and protect against potential damage.

The risks for vacant properties

here are several reasons why vacant properties are at increased risk:

  1. Lack of Surveillance: Vacant properties typically lack occupants or security measures, making them more susceptible to trespassing and unauthorized entry. Without regular monitoring or surveillance, perpetrators may have easier access to the property to carry out arson attacks unnoticed.
  2. Limited Maintenance: Vacant properties may not receive regular maintenance or upkeep, leading to deteriorating conditions that can attract vandals or arsonists. Broken windows, deteriorating structures, and overgrown vegetation can create an appearance of neglect, making the property a target for criminal activity.
  3. Reduced Visibility: Vacant properties may be located in secluded or less populated areas, reducing the likelihood of witnesses or passersby noticing suspicious activity. Perpetrators may exploit this lack of visibility to commit arson attacks without fear of immediate detection or intervention.
  4. Potential for Insurance Fraud: In some cases, property owners facing financial difficulties or seeking to collect insurance payouts may deliberately set fire to vacant properties to file fraudulent insurance claims. The absence of occupants or witnesses may make it easier to stage such incidents without detection.
  5. Arson as a Form of Vandalism: Vacant properties may become targets of vandalism, including arson, as a form of malicious destruction or expression of discontent. Arson attacks on vacant properties may be perpetrated out of boredom, thrill-seeking, or as a means of causing widespread damage.

To mitigate the risk of arson attacks on vacant properties, property owners can take several preventive measures, such as installing security systems, securing entry points, conducting regular inspections, and maintaining the property’s appearance to deter potential perpetrators. Additionally, engaging with local law enforcement and community watch programs can help enhance security and surveillance in the area, reducing the likelihood of criminal activity.

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