The Prevention of Bushfire Arson through Target Hardening

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Christensen, Warren
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Flinders University School of Law
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An analysis of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (Forestry) (DPI&F (Forestry)) Wildfire Data Base indicates that, in comparison to all other DPI&F (Forestry) districts the Beerburrum forestry district is a significant ‘hot spot’ of bushfire arson activity. A situational crime prevention paradigm was used to analyse the Beerburrum forestry district to determine the environmental factors that resulted in this district becoming a ‘hot spot’ of bushfire arson activity. This analysis found that factors such as proximity to population centres, extensive road networks and low levels of staff ‘guardianship’ contributed to the genesis of the Beerburrum bushfire arson ‘hot spot’. The paper argues that situational crime prevention techniques, such as the use of prescribed burns (to reduce ‘payoffs’ to arsonists), can be used to target harden discrete geographical bushfire arson ‘hot spots’, such as Beerburrum, making bushfire arson more difficult, less rewarding and excusable to potential arsonists.
Arson, Criminology
Christensen, W "The Prevention of Bushfire Arson through Target Hardening: 10 FJLR 693