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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76361 Find in a Library
Title: Firesetter - A Psychological Profile, Part 2
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:49  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1980)  Pages:6-17
Author(s): A O Rider
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Many of the common and salient characteristics of pathological firesetters are identified and discussed, and reference is made to a number of specific firesetter profiles.
Abstract: Studies show that pathological arsonists frequently have the following characteristics: (1) under 25 years of age, (2) victims of pathological and distressed rearing environments, (3) from father-absent homes, (4) mother-dominated, (5) academically retarded, (6) slightly below average intelligence, (7) emotionally and psychologically disturbed, (8) socially and sexually maladjusted, (9) unmarried, (10) psychologically inadequate and insecure, and (11) cowardly. Although pathological firesetters share many common characteristics, a typical firesetter does not exist. Each appears to be unique and motivated by a multiplicity of factors. Pathological arsonists do not appear to be representative of those engaged in arson-for-profit schemes. In preparing a psychological profile of a firesetter, the following variables should also be analyzed: (1) the structure (type of structure burned, location, fire history, ownership, and recent structure history); (2) date and time of fire; (3) identity of reporting person; (4) use or lack of devices and accelerants; (5) style of fire; (6) type of devices and accelerants; (7) occupancy factors; (8) burn pattern and points of origin; (9) modus operandi; (10) evidence of forced entry; (11) evidence of preparation of structure for burning; (12) presence of other crimes; and (13) evidence of similar fires in the community. Footnotes and tabular data are provided.
Index Term(s): Arson; Arsonists; Background investigations; Behavioral science research; Criminal investigation; Psychological evaluation
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