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Opinion : Arson: The crime that affects the whole community

| July 15, 2014


Of all the crimes that blight modern society surely the most pointless is that of arson.

Searching through the articles on the news section of this site it seems arson is commonplace in Wycombe.

Whether it be a car being set alight, a shed going up or just rubbish burning on open ground every incident of arson is one too many. Someone, somewhere, somehow is likely to lose property and the fire brigade have to deal with the aftermath.

The brave firefighters of the District have a tough enough job as it is without mindless rascals deliberately starting fires which require them to risk their lives extinguishing them.

Sadly some parts of Wycombe have become synonymous with arson attacks, take for example Castlefield. At one time, a few years ago, it was so bad in that part of Wycombe that it was more common to hear the siren of a fire engine rushing around the streets than it was to hear the chimes of an ice cream van.

However it seems that arson is not confined to the traditionally troubled areas of Wycombe.

Only last Sunday a scout hut in Beaumont Way, Hazlemere caught fire. Now it’s being reported that police are treating the scout hut fire as suspicious with arson a possible cause.

If, and I put the emphasis on the IF, the scout hut fire turns out to be arson then surely it must be one of the most despicable crimes to hit Wycombe in years.

Think of all the youngsters who gained pleasure from that building and the useful skills they would have learnt there. Now it’s a charred shell with blackened brick walls. Ruins are all that remain of a building that just a few hours ago benefited the local community.

Do those who start fires deliberately not understand the damage and harm they cause?

Someone has to pay to repair the structures that burn down. Someone has to clear up the mess. Someone loses out through an act of total mindlessness.

Of course it’s not just those involved with the objects that catch fire that are affected.

These days anyone buying a house will more than likely do a search on the internet to see what an area is like. Would you buy a house in an area that search engines reveal had been blighted with arson attacks? When the arsonists move in everyone loses through falling house prices.

I think the crime of arson needs to be treated more seriously by the courts. Those who start fires have no place in our modern society. Why should we have to live amongst those who think it acceptable to burn down the very buildings and things that make up our community?

I say lock up those convicted of arson for life or even deport them to far away lands so they can’t bother us ever again.

Arson is the one crime that can literally affect a whole community.

What do you think?

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