Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Marnie E. Rice & Grant T. Harris
Arson is the willful or malicious burning of property, and arson fires also entail the risk of intentional or inadvertent personal injury, including risk to firefighters. In the United States, at least 20 percent (and as much as 50 percent) of fire-related property damage is due to arson. This proportion has been declining due, at least in part, to increased vigilance and investigation. Considerable scientific knowledge now supports forensic fire investigation, including determination that the cause was arson. Nevertheless, conviction rates for arson are extremely low (2 percent to 3 percent), and about 80 percent of arson cases remain unsolved. Although profit is ...