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Understanding The Enemy: Profiles and Motivations of an Arsonist

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

Vandalism-Motivated Arson

Vandalism motivated arson is due to malicious and mischievous motivation that results in destruction or damage. The types of vandalism-motivated arson in this category are willful and malicious mischief, peer group pressure and other. If multiple offenders are involved, one personality tends to be the leader or instigator of the group.

Don't Let Criminals Get Away

The typical crime scene reflects the spontaneous nature of the offense and is representative or a disorganized crime. The offenders tend to use materials present at the site and leave physical evidence at the scene. Occasionally, flammable liquids are used.

The offenders may gain entrance to a secured structure though windows. Evidence will show mechanical breaking of the glass as opposed to heat damage. Matchbooks, cigarettes and spray pain cans are often present. Other signs suggesting vandalism may be present.

The typical offender is a juvenile male who has 7-9 years of formal education. He tends to have a record of poor school performance and does not work. He is single and lives with either one or both parents. Alcohol and drugs generally are not associated with the fire setting.

The majority of these offenders live less than one mile from the crime scene. Most offenders flee immediately from the scene and do not return. If they do return, they view the fire from a safe distance.

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