QuestionQuestion

You are a senior member of an arson investigation unit. You are being supported by newly assigned criminal investigators from a street crime unit, who do not have much experience in the investigation of arson crimes. These new investigators will be doing the interviewing of arson suspects. You have been asked by the agency director to provide a white paper for dissemination to the new investigators. The paper will contain the required components that differentiate arson from an accidental fire. Further, you must explain to the new investigators in the paper the various types of economic and psychological motives that exist, so they may best plan their interviews with the arson suspect.

In a white paper to the newly assigned investigators, please address the bulleted tasks listed below in the assignment guidelines. There are a number of arson investigator resources that are not found in academic journals that may be utilized as references in this assignment. It is critical that when making a statement of fact in your paper, you cite the reference you obtained the information from in the text of the paper and that the reference is included in your reference page.

Assignment Guidelines

Address the following in 7–9 pages:
Describe the elements of proof for an arson fire.
Identify and describe at least 2 distinct motives for individuals to commit arson. The motives you select should fall under 2 different categories listed below:
Social
Economic
Psychological
Provide a background of the type of person who is likely to commit arson for the motives you select.
Suggest to the investigators where they might develop leads on the suspect based on the type of arsonist he or she might be. Explain in detail.
If the investigators have the opportunity to search the residence and/or business of the suspect, what artifacts should they be aware of that would help them identify motives of the arsonist? Explain in detail.
Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

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Introduction
In America, arson cases are the least effectively prosecuted cases despite them causing the highest losses that exceed thefts and robberies combined. According to the national figures, the national conviction rate for arson crimes is less than 1%, demonstrating that the criminal justice system has failed in the handling of arson cases (Strain, 2013). In a National Criminal Justice Reference Service Journal, (Pisani, 2003), a study in the New York City shows that arson motives associated with revenge were at 52%, insurance fraud 6.5%, crime concealment 2.9%, vandalism 12.3% and pyromania 10.1%. Pisani (2003) adds that poor investigation from the scene of crime is the primary reason for the poor rate of arson convictions in America. Obtaining details such as the initial caller to the fire department through the 911 service, photos and diagrams of the scene, insurance information, background checks of the owner, occupants, victims, caller, property record checks, weather conditions, financial information of owners and occupants, area gas stations and hospitals are all critical to a proper arson investigation (Interfire.org, 1996). Finding the motive and the suspect takes understanding of not only the crime scene and forensics, but also the understanding of human behavior and motivations as an arson investigator. The investigator may in some cases require the assistance of Criminal Investigative Analysis in profiling, but proper evidence collection may speed up the arson investigation and conclude in a successful conviction.
2.0 Elements of proof for an arson fire.
The 18 USCS 3559 defines arson as malicious damage or willful destruction of buildings, inhabited structure, vehicle, vessel or real property through a fire or explosive device (Uslegal.com, 2015). It is viewed as a crime against property. Therefore, arson is is deemed as deliberate destruction of property through burning; however carelessness or recklessness that results in destruction of the property through a fire is also regarded as malicious (Accidentlaws.com, 2012). An arsonist must have the motive to destroy the property, structure, vessel or vehicle. In fact Accidentlaws.com (2012), states that their conduct must be malicious in order to differentiate it from an accident....
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