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Arson: Defend yourself with an official investigation's findings

Arson is defined as an intentional burning or attempted burning of a property, vehicle or other item, although arson isn't limited to personal property or buildings. Some arsonists take aim at churches, while others plot against schools or businesses.

In most cases, arson takes place as a form of revenge or to cover up another crime. For example, someone trying to cover up a computer crime that could be traced to computers in a library may decide to burn it down to eliminate the evidence.

Who are the people most likely to be arsonists?

Statistics show that around 86 percent of arsonists are men. Around 50 percent of all intentional fires are actually caused by children, too. Arson is related to around a third of all dormitory fires and 15 percent of residential fires.

Although arson is referred to as a victimless crime, the facts don't show that it goes without victims. Financially, arson costs thousands or hundreds of thousands per event, since insurance carriers and the taxpayer end up footing the bill. If people are caught in the fires, then burn injuries or deaths are possible. Sadly, around two-thirds of intentional fires do take place in occupied buildings.

It can be hard to know if a fire is intentional or not. There are many factors to consider. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents are trained to complete an arson investigation and should be involved in a case from the beginning.

With good evidence, it's possible to fight back if you've been accused of arson. The agents working on the case should have documentation that could support your defense.

Source: MSO, "A Few Facts About Arson," accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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