U.S. Arson Trends, Patterns, and Base Rates

Arson is a crime of violence. Incendiary and suspicious causes of firesetting or arson remain the number one cause of property damage due to fire in the United States. Arson sometimes targets people and can lead to homicide. In 1999, for the 5th straight year, juvenile firesetters accounted for half or more of those arrested for arson. In 1999, the number of incendiary and suspicious structure fires was 72,000, and the death toll was 370. From 1980 to 1999, the death toll was 16,018. From 1980 to 1998, there were 45,000 incendiary and suspicious vehicle fires; 115,000 incendiary or suspicious fires set in grass, brush, and wildlands; and 61,999 civilian injuries. Property damage to structures and vehicles caused by ...

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