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Motives for Arson. Arson The willful use of fire to destroy property or cause bodily harm – defraud insurance – thrill crime – revenge/hate crime – murder.

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Presentation on theme: "Motives for Arson. Arson The willful use of fire to destroy property or cause bodily harm – defraud insurance – thrill crime – revenge/hate crime – murder."— Presentation transcript:

1 Motives for Arson

2 Arson The willful use of fire to destroy property or cause bodily harm – defraud insurance – thrill crime – revenge/hate crime – murder – sex crime Personalities of arsonists vary widely dependent upon motive – typically juvenile males

3 Investigating Suspicious Fires Arsonists’ Motives There are several motives for most arson fires: economic, revenge, intimidation, and extortion Examples: Burning of buildings to collect on the artificially inflated insurance value Setting fire to a place in revenge or to teach the owner a “lesson” Setting fire to a business that refuses to pay for protection

4 Defraud insurance Arson is one way to defraud property insurance – maximum effort to hide nature of crime – period of financial crisis – outdated inventory – relocating/renovating business – take advantage of government redevelopment incentives – false inventory claims Timing of fire---children out of home removal of psychological valuables faked vandalism

5 Thrill Arson Typically perpetrated by male children/juveniles 15-20% females Typically sloppier, more clearly arson, targets may be valueless Accidental arson - less likely to do damage – fires start in isolated areas – “proper instruction” nearly valueless “Angry Child” firesetters – typically 7-13 – fire set at home or parental property – little effort to hide arson – conflicted homes?

6 Thrill Arson 2 “Delinquent” firesetter is about 11+ – arson to cover up vandalism – targets may be abandoned buildings--or revenge targets “Pleasure” arsonist – children or juveniles who love fire – fantasize about fire – most likely group to eventually set fatal fires – stay to watch fire – sex arsonists as adults

7 Revenge/Hate Crime Targeted specific individuals/groups – African-American church burnings – abortion clinic firebombings Personalities may mix paranoid, antisocial and passive- aggressive traits – may be active, but not accepted in hate groups – typically “fringe” individuals – low social skills – cowardly – may have arrest record for trespass/vandalism (less likely for assault)

8 Arson as Murder Arson may be used to attempt to hide nature of crime – hard to pull off with forensic medicine – reflects complete detachment with victim – fire may start near/on victims Arson also used to cover up evidence – Destroys much forensic evidence – may reflect premeditation – still demonstrates detachment from victim

9 Arson as Murder 2 Arson as family annihilation – almost always male – reflects desperate antisocial personality Arson as murder weapon – reflects EXTREME hatred of victim – high likelihood of intimate/sexual bond – sadistic traits to personality – used by both males and females

10 Sex Crime Arson Rarest and arguably most dangerous form of arson (pyromania) Sex arsonist receive pleasure from watching destructive fire May stay to watch fire Escalation of crime Personality features: – highly deviant, may have some psychotic traits – typically loners, unlikely to have willing partner – hateful personalities, deviant sexual fantasies – spotty work histories – older, poorly maintained automobiles

11 Waco Texas David Koresh and Branch Davidians – stockpile serious weapons – FBI insiders Feb 28, 1993 ATF raid – ATF--4 dead 16 injured – BD---undetermined dead and wounded (Koresh is wounded) – FBI takes over scene, talks begin – Brand Davidian killed trying to return to compound March 2 – Koresh promises to surrender if tape of his preachings broadcast – tape is broadcast, no surrender

12 Waco 2 Conciliatory gesture--drop charges on 2 women FBI profilers suggest increasing pressure bad idea March 5 – 9yo girl released with “suicide” note March 9 – electricity cut to compound March 12 – Reno sworn in as AG March 15 – turn floodlights on compound, refuse to listen to “Bible babble”

13 Waco 3 March 25 – armored cars begin removing motorcycles from compound March 29 – Koresh and negotiator meet face to face over objections of US attorneys and Texas Rangers April 2-9, Koresh promises surrender after “passover” but later recants April 13 Tear gas plan approved by Reno and Clinton April 16 Koresh states he will not come out until he writes a manuscript explaining the “seven seals” April 15 FBI concludes BDs have enough food and water to survive 1 year April 18, BDs hold children up in tower window with sign “Flames await”

14 April 19 5:59 Negotiators warn BDs of tear-gas attack, advise them to come out 6:02 CEVs begin inserting flammable tear gas 6:04 BDs open fire on CEVs – FBI BFVs return fire 7:30 compound wall breached 7:45-11:45 CEVs tear apart compound Noon: BDs begin systematically – setting fires

15 Waco Fire 12:25 gunfire from within compound 12:45 Firefighting efforts begin – 9 survivors – approx 80 dead including 22 children – Koresh among dead Contentious issues – Not sure if ATF or BDs fired first – BDs did set fire


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