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Sapp, Allen D., Huff, Timothy G., Gary, Gordon P., Icove, David J., and Horbert, Philip. Serial Arsonists... Who Are They? The National Fire and Arson Report. Volume 12, Number 3. September , 1994.

Abstract: This article is a reprint of "A Report of Essential Findings From a Study of Serial Arsonists." Only portions of the study are included in this article. To obtains the article in its entirety, contact the U.S. Government Printing Office: 1994 - 301 - 178/85008.

The excerpts from the study printed in this article include: the study's purpose, the research goals, a short list of important definitions, the limitations of the study, the report format, and the summary and conclusions of the study.

The main goals of the study were 1) to identify common characteristics of arsons committed by serial arsonists, 2) to identify common motives and characteristics of serial arsonists, and 3) to determine if serial arsonists share characteristics with other arsonists.

This study was an exploratory study providing hypotheses about serial arsonists and is not offering generalizations. It was not an experiment because no controlled group was used in the research. Research was done on incarcerated serial arsonists and therefore does not represent the general population.

The study provides its conclusions in the areas of attributes of the serial arsonists, life history of serial arsonists, history of arsons by subjects, characteristics of the offenses, and motives for firesetting. A complete demographics breakdown of serial arsonists is provided in the attributes section. Statistics regarding institutionalization and prior criminal activities is included in the life history section. The history of arsons by subjects provides the arson activities of serial arsonists according to age. The characteristics of the offenses section provides common traits found among the arsonists studied, including common methods of entering, use of accomplices, and methods used to set the fires. There were no obvious links between the target selections of the serial arsonists examined. The conclusions regarding motives included a variety of different reasons offered by the subjects studied. Most specific reasons reflect the arsonist's lack of skills in dealing with the stress and problems with everyday life.

 
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