The Main Stream

Jun 3, 2012 3:33 PM

Phoenix's arson-clearance rate beats US figure

PHOENIX (AP) - Arson investigators for the Phoenix Fire Department are getting noticed as their case clearance rates are well above the national average.

Between January and late May, the department's 16 fire investigators have been called out to 353 fires with 90 of those labeled as arson. Of the 90, investigators have cleared 57 percent.

Nationwide, the arson clearance rate in 2010 was 19 percent. That's according to the most recent figures available from the FBI. In Phoenix, it was over 50 percent for the same year.

Phoenix's success at solving arsons is catching the attention of other fire departments wanting to achieve similar results.

The Arizona Republic says many credit Jack Ballentine. He's an ex-homicide detective who took over fire investigations after he retired from the Phoenix police in 2007.

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