Today the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal Leeds’s arson hotspots as firefighters insist they are cracking down on the problem.
Analysis of figures shows that the city and Hunslet council ward had 93 deliberate fires in a six-month period – the highest in the city.
Killingbeck and Seacroft (90), Armley (87), Middleton Park (74) and Burmantofts and Richmond Hill (60) were the otherfour busiest for fire crews between April and September last year.
There were 1,871 deliberate fires in Leeds in the 2014/15 financial year – one of which was fatal and others which left 19 people injured.
Peter Huby, district prevention assistant for Leeds, said: “Arson or deliberate fire setting has long blighted some of the communities and estates within Leeds and we have never stopped in seeking ways to reduce this anti-social and dangerous behaviour.”
Brooklands Avenue in Seacroft alone had 12 deliberate fires during the year, largely because of problems with derelict houses. As a result, council demolition crews moved in to flatten the problem properties.
Coun Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “The cost of arson isn’t just financial as it can cause untold misery for communities.
“We all have our part to play in preventing fires – accidental or deliberate. As a council we’ve taken a number of innovative steps to deter would-be arsonists, particularly in our empty properties.”
There were 976 rubbish firess in Leeds last year, including 222 in wheelie bins.
Speaking ahead of Arson Awareness Week next week, Leeds prevention manager Lisa Toner said such incidents tended to increase in summer.
She said: “The combination of lighter nights and dryer grassland can result in a rise in deliberate fire setting, but our message is that if you play with fire not only do you risk a criminal conviction but you could also end up with blood on your hands.”
1,817: Deliberate fires in 2014-15 – a fall from 1,993 the previous year and more than 3,000 in 201/11
74: Homes affected last year
232: Vehicles torched last year
61: Businesses hit last year
7: Deaths during the last five years
110: People injured in the last five years
222: Wheelie bin fires last year
12: Deliberate fires at derelict properties on Brooklands Avenue, Seacroft, last year. The buildings have since been pulled down
£2million: Estimated annual cost to West Yorkshire Fire Service of dealing with deliberate fires
101 or 0800 555111: Numbers to call police or Crimestoppers to report deliberate fires