Arson spike alert

VICTORIA Police’s arson and explosives squad are in town to investigate Mildura’s spike in suspicious fires.

A team of five arson and explosives detectives from Melbourne will this week look into 40 incidents of criminal damage by fire recorded in the Mildura Police Service Area this year.

This compares to 12 incidents recorded in the second half of last year.

No one has been seriously injured in any of the fires, which were lit in bins, cars, parks and homes.

Detective Senior-Sergeant Jeff Maher said 14 people had been arrested, but many of the fires were unsolved.

“Statistics show a lot of them are young males in the community from all different races,” Det Sen-Sgt Maher said.

“The region has done a fantastic job with the arrest rate compared to other areas in the state.

“The fires are widespread right throughout the Mildura Police Service Area, not concentrated in the one area.

“Bin fires and care fires might form a bit of a pattern, but a lot of them are unrelated to each other.”

Det Sen-Sgt Maher said the causes of arson ranged from “kids who think it’s a prank to people lighting fires for insurance claim purposes – this is pretty prevalent throughout the state.”

“Parents should know where their children are and what they are doing and be responsible for them,” Det Sen-Sgt Maher said.

Det Sen-Sgt Maher urged people in-the-know to come forward to make a difference.

“If you see something or know something, say something,” Det Sen-Sgt Maher said.

“As the summer fire season approaches, we need to make sure the community is vigilant and reports all suspicious behaviour immediately to police.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday's Sunraysia Daily 23/08/2012.

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