Horsham arson figures show drop over three years


The number of cases of arson in the Horsham district has steadily declined over the last three years, figures reveal.

In 2011, firefighters responded to 97 fires within the Horsham district that were started by deliberate ignition.

The number dropped to 81 in 2012 and fell to 79 in 2013.

The statistics were obtained from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) by the County Times via a Freedom of Information request.

Richard Davy, deputy district commander at WSFRS, said: “I am really pleased with these figures because the Horsham community safety partnership works really hard to reduce all crime, fear of crime and to improve the look and feel in the district.

“The Horsham district is a very safe place to live already and any work that we can do to further reduce deliberate fires adds to the overall picture of a safe environment to live.”

Between January 2011 and December 2013, the most fires started by deliberate ignition in a month was in February 2012, when the number reached 17.

The following month, March 2012, presented the second highest figure in a month within the three-year period, with 14.

However, only one fire was started deliberately in December 2012.

Mr Davy said: “In particular with arson fires, alongside the fire service, the district council community safety team and Sussex Police react very quickly to pinpoint any trends and put in place measures to ensure that we can reduce repetition.

“This can be in the form of simple measures such as ensuring that bins are emptied more often, dumped rubbish is cleared from the environment, or increased patrols.

“We also provide education to children throughout their time at school warning of the dangers of arson, possible results from criminal damage and the dangers to themselves and others of starting fires.”

With the exception of February and March 2012, the statistics show more fires started by deliberate ignition occurred in the summer months.

Between May and August 2011, firefighters were called to 45 cases of arson - but in the same period in 2013, the number fell by about a third, to 31.

Mr Davy added: “Deliberate fires are a crime and anyone starting a deliberate fire may put themselves or others in danger and could potentially be risking a life.

“We will attend deliberate fires and this could mean that we are not able to attend a more serious property fire.”