Reducing arson risk

On average there are over 3,000 deliberate fires a year in London. We all have a part to play in reducing that number. In this section we offer advice on how to do that…

At home


Rubbish is a ready sources of fuel for an arsonist, so fires involving rubbish can quickly spread to nearby homes and buildings putting lives at risk.

  • Only put rubbish and recycling containers out on collection days
  • If you miss a collection contact your local council to report it
  • Never store rubbish, or anything that can catch alight, in corridors, stair wells or escape routes
  • Keep communal bin stores secure and well lit
  • Store recycling containers a safe distance from buildings
  • Don’t overload skips and get them removed when full

Security measures

One of the best ways to prevent arson is making sure your property is secure, including any derelict buildings.

  • Keep entry points to buildings secure, including sheds or garages, perimeter walls, fencing and gates
  • Board up and secure unused or derelict buildings
  • Prevent intruders and trespassing by making sure perimeters and buildings are well maintained and any damage is repaired as soon as possible
  • Consider installing security systems such as CCTV, alarms and security lighting
  • Keep any flammable substances stored safely and securely, not left in the open
  • Consider fitting a fire reduction letterbox

In your neighbourhood

Keep a look out for potential arson risks while out and about in your local area.

On the streets

Dumped rubbish and abandoned vehicles are common targets for arsonists, you can help by reporting them to your local council.

  • Report fly tipping (illegally dumped waste) to your local council to get it collected quickly
  • Report abandoned vehicles to your local council, as they can become a target for arson. They may cause damage to the environment from oil spills and the toxic smoke produced in a fire. Water used during fire fighting may also become polluted and affect sub-soils and water drainage systems
  • Report suspicious behaviour to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact police on 101 with information. (Always call 999 in an emergency.)

In parks and open spaces

Fires in parks and open spaces such as grasslands, wooded areas, sports grounds and allotments can kill wildlife, and cause widespread damage, as well as polluting the air.

If you’re responsible for any green or open spaces:

  • Keep any paths well maintained and trimmed back. This allows fire brigade vehicle access, and the paths can be used as a fire break
  • Regularly check and maintain open water supplies for fire fighting
  • Ensure there are no gaps, holes, damage or access points in perimeter walls or fencing
  • Lock the gates out of hours
  • Consider increasing security patrols at peak times (April – September)
  • Rubbish or recycling containers should be placed on firm, solid ground and regularly emptied
  • Grass, plant and tree cuttings should be removed from the area as soon as possible

Related documents

Putting a stop to arson booklet

Download PDF (482kb)
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