Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

Why do people commit arson?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Violent crimes

If the police wish to charge you with arson they need to show you had intent. The charge cannot apply if you accidentally set something on fire. 

Yet, no one can know for sure what is in another person’s head. So the police may charge you based on what they think was your motive rather than any actual thoughts you had.

If you understand the sort of motives people typically have for committing arson, it can help you to understand what the police believe may have motivated you. Once you understand what they are thinking, you can set about challenging their beliefs. 

7 reasons people burn things 

Here are some statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice as to what they found the most common arson motives to be. 

  • Pyromania, 10.1%
  • Revenge, 52.9%
  • Vandalism, 12.3%
  • Insurance fraud, 6.55%
  • Welfare fraud, 6.55%
  • The psycho firesetter, 8.7%
  • Crime concealment, 2.9%

Remember, it’s not only intent the prosecution needs to prove. They need to prove you did it. Maybe they have text messages where you fantasized about getting revenge on someone. That still does not mean you went ahead and acted on those thoughts.

If a court convicts you of arson, the judge could issue you with severe penalties. Your friends and family might know you’d never dream of trying to burn something down, but that does not mean a judge and jury will think the same way. Getting legal help will be crucial to show that the police who accused you are wrong.