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Understanding The Enemy: Profiles and Motivations of an Arsonist

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

Strategic Fire Starter:

• Typically a teenager with a history of delinquent behavior who may have been involved with the juvenile justice system.
• Regard any legal consequences of their actions as a joke and have a failure to experience any guilt about what they have done.
• Have low self-esteem and may brag to peers about the fires.
• There is a probable gang affiliation and there is usually a history of substance use or abuse.


Fire Setting behavior:

• Fires typically have multiple points of origin and are often set in conjunction with other crimes
• Fires are often set with peers and they usually use accelerants.
• Fires are often will planned and set to cause harm or destruction or as revenge fires.


Family or Social dynamics:

• They are usually alienated from caretakers and society with a history of school problems as well as a history of substance use or abuse.
• Individual is peer dominated with little or no family involvement.
• Care takers will defer responsibility for the person’s actions.

Next: The Pathological Fire Starter


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