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The Relationship Between Selected Socioeconomic Variables and Measures of Arson: A Cross-Sectional Study
Hollman K W, Murrey Jr J H, Pitts R E, Smith D A
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
This article examines the relationship between arson and selected sociological factors. Factor analysis was applied to 14 socioeconomic factors to produce the composite factors of social climate, income structure, economic climate and social structure. These four sociological factors were used as the independent variables in a series of multiple regressions with five arson-related measures. Statistically significant regression models were determined at the state level for property loss (total fires), number of fires and number of arsons. Findings indicate that poorer, more rural states have the lowest arson rates while arson is greatest in more urban states with correspondingly higher levels of violent crime. Social structures leading to criminal activity rather than poverty or general economic factors appear most related to arson in a given state.