The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines arson as any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.
Only the fires that investigation determined to have been willfully set are included in this arson data collection. Fires labeled as suspicious or of unknown origin are excluded from these data. Points to consider regarding arson statistics include:
- This data collection does not include any estimates for arson because the degree of reporting arson offenses varies from agency to agency. Because of this disparity in reporting, arson offenses are excluded from Tables 1-7, all of which contain offense estimations. In addition, Metropolitan Statistical Area, state, and national offense rates per 100,000 inhabitants (found in Tables 1, 2, and 4-6) do not include arson data.
- Arson rates are calculated based upon data received from all law enforcement agencies that provide the UCR Program with data for 12 complete months and are presented in Arson Table 1.
The number of arsons reported by individual law enforcement agencies is available in Tables 8-11, arson trend data (indicating a year-to-year change) are in Tables 12-15, and arson clearance data (crimes solved) can be found in Arson Table 2 and Tables 25-28.
- In 2013, 15,222 law enforcement agencies (providing from 1 to 12 months of arson data) reported 44,840 arsons. Of the participating agencies, 14,365 agencies provided expanded offense data regarding 38,795 arsons.
- Nearly 46 percent (45.9) of all arson offenses involved structures (e.g., residential, storage, public, etc.). Mobile property was involved in 23.8 percent of arsons, and other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 30.3 percent of reported arsons.
- The average dollar loss per arson was $14,390.
- Arsons of industrial/manufacturing structures resulted in the highest average dollar losses (an average of $126,606).
- Arson offenses decreased 13.5 percent in 2013 when compared with arson data reported in 2012. (See Table 12.)
- Nationwide, there were 16.1 arson offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Expanded arson data
Expanded offense data are the details of the various offenses that the program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report. These details may include the type of weapons used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth. In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.
Expanded information regarding arson is available in the following tables:
Property types: Table 15
Arson Table 1, “Arson Rate, by Population Group, 2013”
Arson Table 2, “Arson, by Type of Property, 2013”