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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 49273 Find in a Library
Title: LABORATORY ASPECTS OF ARSON - ACCELERANTS, DEVICES, AND TARGETS
Journal: ARSON ANALYSIS NEWSLETTER  Volume:2  Issue:4  Dated:(AUGUST 1978)  Pages:COMPLETE ISSUE
Author(s): J D DEHAAN
Corporate Author: Systems Engineering Associates
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Systems Engineering Associates
Columbus, OH 43085
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: News/Media
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: LABORATORY CASE RECORDS AND CASE FILE NOTES ON 311 CASES OF SUSPECTED ARSON OR ARSON-RELATED CRIME WERE EVALUATED TO PROVIDE CONTROLLED-ENVIRONMENT INFORMATION REGARDING THE PROBLEMS CONFRONTING FORENSIC SCIENTISTS.
Abstract: THE PROCEDURE INVOLVED CASES IN WHICH SOME TYPE OF FLAMMABLE MATERIAL WAS INVOLVED AS EVIDENCE. CASES INVOLVING THE EXAMINATION OF ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS, APPLIANCES, OR FIXTURES FOR MECHANICAL OR ELECTRICAL FAILURES WERE NOT INCLUDED. LABORATORY RESULTS PERTAINING TO THE PRESENCE OR ABSENCE OF AN ACCELERANT, THE IDENTITY OF THE ACCELERANT, AND THE NATURE OF ANY DEVICES INVOLVED WERE RECORDED AND THE REFERRING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WERE QUERIED FOR DATA ON: THE TYPE OF ACCELERANT SUSPECTED; THE TYPE OF DEVICE USED; WHETHER THE ARSON ATTEMPT WAS SUCCESSFUL; OTHER PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FOUND; TYPE OF TARGET -- DWELLING, BUSINESS, OR VEHICLE; LOCATION OF SET; AND ARREST AND PROSECUTION DETAILS. INFORMATION ON A TOTAL OF 147 CASE HISTORIES WAS RETURNED. TYPES OF TARGETS SELECTED FOR ARSON ATTACKS VARIED FROM DWELLINGS TO NAVY DESTROYERS. THERE APPEARED TO BE LITTLE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE TARGET AND THE ACCELERANT USED. GASOLINE APPEARED TO BE THE UNIVERSAL CHOICE, AND WAS USED EQUALLY ON ALL CLASSES OF TARGETS. MORE UNUSUAL ACCELERANTS WERE ENCOUNTERED IN COMMERCIAL, MANUFACTURING, AND HOME WORKSHOP SCENE: LACQUER THINNERS AND ENAMEL REDUCERS IN AUTO SHOP FIRES, DYE SOLVENTS IN SHOE STORES, GLUES IN SCHOOLS AND SHOPS, COPIER TONERS IN OFFICES, AND PLASTIC RESIN IN HOME WORKSHOPS. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT: (1) GASOLINE IS THE MOST FREQUENTLY ENCOUNTERED ACCELERANT, (2) ACCELERANTS AVAILABLE AT THE SCENE ARE FREQUENTLY USED, (3) DEVICES FOR TIME DELAY OR IGNITION APPEAR TO BE USED VERY INFREQUENTLY, (4) ARRESTS AND PROSECUTIONS FOR ARSON CRIMES ARE QUITE LOW, AND (5) LAB FINDINGS ARE APPARENTLY NOT CRUCIAL TO THE OUTCOME OF MANY CASES. TABULAR DATA ARE APPENDED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Arson; Case studies; Crime analysis; Crime laboratories
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49273

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