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Understanding The Enemy: Profiles and Motivations of an Arsonist

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

Delinquent Fire Starter:

• Typically an adolescent with poor interpersonal skills who lacks good judgment and is impulsive and irresponsible.
• Often a risk take who opposes authority with a history of academic and or behavioral problems.
• Often deny or lie about the origin of the fire.
• Are embarrassed and afraid of the consequences when caught.

Fire setting Behavior:

• Can set school fires-but often sets outdoor fires.
• Fires are often set with peers and are not sophisticated in nature.
• Often uses fireworks, smoke bombs and sets off false alarms.
• Has a history of fire setting and will use common accelerants to set the fire.

Family or Social Dynamics:

• Individual is peer dominated
• Often comes from a dysfunctional family and has a lack of adequate supervision.
• They are fearful of legal or financial consequences and are receptive to assistance.
• Caregivers have made numerous attempts to obtain help and are embarrassed and or angry about the setting of fires.

Next: The Strategic Fire Starter