In What Fire Scene Responders Need to Know in Tough Economic Times (Part 2), fire expert witness and Principal of Pyrocop Inc., Robert Rowe writes:
For example, Maine State Fire Marshall John Dean told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network last month that he expects that the recession will continue to fuel the arson rate as more and more people face a loss of their property or find it difficult to pay their bills. These trends become more evident with the recent increase in gas prices and the realization by desperate owners of “gas guzzling” vehicles that arson may be the only way to relieve their financial burden.
Additionally, there is the failing business. During adverse economic conditions, arson involving businesses becomes a hopeless but viable option for those business owners who are experiencing a profit loss to “shore up” an otherwise dismal month-end balance sheet.
Fortunately, fire jurisdictions and insurance companies have become much more aggressive with their anti-arson programs to reduce the number of cases of arson for profit by making it less likely that such crimes will go undiscovered. In particular, the development of some insurance and other computerized matching database tools has been credited by some investigators with making arson for profit easier to detect and prove.