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Understanding The Enemy: Profiles and Motivations of an Arsonist

Kendra Weikman | - For sources, see Editor's note.

Extremist Motivated Arson

Extremist Motivated Arson is committed to further a social, political, or religious cause. The types in this category are terrorism, and discrimination riots/civil disturbances.

The crime scene reflects an organized and focused attack by the offender(s). Multiple offenders are common to this arson.

These offenders frequently employ incendiary devices such as Molotov cocktails which offer both offender and forensic information. Offenders may leave some form of message at the crime scene. Symbolic messages often indicate younger offenders. Communiqu├ęs are sometimes delivered orally or in writing to the media claiming responsibility or attempting to justify the violent act.

When confronting with obvious overkill in setting the fire, investigators should be aware of the possibility of extreme concentrations of flammable or combustible materials used to set the fires. Unexploded incendiary devices may be found at the scene.

Next: Serial Arson

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