Project Arson: Uncovering the True Arson Rate in the United States
David J. Icove, The University of Tennessee
Thomas K. Hargrove, Scripps News Washington Bureau
Presented at International Symposium of Fire Investigation, 2014
Many forensic investigators and practitioners in the field of arson suppression sense that the true arson rate in the United States is far higher than is commonly reported. This paper reports on efforts to uncover the true arson rate in the United States through a nationwide audit conducted by a national news service in partnership with a major university. Using traditional social science research methods and constructing pattern-recognition algorithms, the project focused on an examination of building and vehicle fire statistics for the 2006-2011 time period recorded by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the application of geographic, socioeconomic, and mortgage foreclosure data to those statistics.