Arson is a serious crime that usually causes major property damage and injuries to homeowners and firefighters. While not as common as other crimes, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4% of fires in the nation in 2019 were intentional.
Arsonists may set fires for a variety of reasons. However, no matter the motivation, there are several different types of properties that are often affected.
There were more than 350,000 residential fires in the United States in 2019, with over 7,000 injuries reported as a result. While arson is a relatively low cause of these fires, the reasons for intentional blazes sometimes include:
- Insurance fraud
- To cover up a crime
- An act of revenge or spite
Residential arson may spread to other homes, which typically increases the financial loss and the risk of injury.
In 2019, arson inspectors found that around 4% of more than 200,00 vehicle fires were intentionally set. In some cases, these fires spread to outbuildings, such as garages and sheds, causing further damage. The vehicle owners often start the fires themselves to collect an insurance payout, making this type of arson the third most common in 2019.
The reasons behind outdoor arson are largely unknown in most cases, with delinquency causing a few larger fires. These types of fires usually cause damage to miles of acreage, such as forests, and may even cause damage to homes in the surrounding area.
Arson incidents may occur anywhere but generally happen with more frequency in populated areas. Despite a downward trend for fires of this type over the past decade, financial loss and injuries related to arson continue to rise.