Beginning next month, the State Fire Marshal’s Office in Florida will be able to track crime data from every fire and law enforcement department in the state and use the information to track down serial arsonists more quickly.
“Between 2000 and 2001, dollar losses associated with fires in Florida increased by nearly 50 percent,” said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who has served as Insurance Commissioner and presently State Fire Marshal. “This new technology will help our fire and arson investigators analyze fire scenes and more quickly track down arsonists before they strike again.”
Integrated Crime Analysis Tools, developed by 4thWatch Systems Inc., will be used by crime analysts within the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, the law enforcement branch of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, located within the Department of Financial Services. This investigative tool uses information on fire locations and types to connect series of similar crimes to determine the most probable area of offender movement. This aids in developing targeted geographical possibilities where law enforcement surveillance can be employed to arrest arsonists in the act.
The bureau conducts approximately 7,000 investigations each year of major fires, explosions, and arson-related incidents, and last year made more than 500 arson-related arrests.
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