Crime Stoppers to offer rewards for arson tips - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crime Stoppers to offer rewards for arson tips

(WMC-TV) – Vacant, with no utilities, and burned down on purpose, a recent fire at 1105 Beechwood is just one of more than 200 arsons in Memphis over the past nine months.

According to Alvin Benson, Director of the Memphis Fire Department, it's a serious problem.

"Arson is everyone's problem," he said.

Now, the Memphis Fire Department is partnering with Crime Stoppers, encouraging people to call anonymously if that have information about open arson cases.

According to Buddy Chapman, Crime Stoppers had never received a tip about an arson, until recently.  That tip helped investigators determine what caused the blaze at 1105 Beechwood.

It's so important, whether it's murder or arson, the community has to be involved," Chapman said.

The national average solve rate on an arson case is about 17 percent, while Memphis fire investigators boast a rate of 23 percent.  Benson hopes, with the help of Crime Stoppers, that number will go higher.

"Arson is indeed a crime," he said. "It's a felony. It's eligible for a Crime Stoppers reward."

Benson hopes the allure of easy money may change the way firefighters fight arson.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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