Arson as a Type of Crime -- Victims, Offenders, and Prevention in Finland

Ahti Laitinen, University of Turku, Calonia

This paper deals with arson and its prevention in Finland. Arson will first be viewed in the light of history and criminological theory. The second part of the paper contains the results of an empirical study on arson. The material has been collected from different official sources. For example, the offenses data base of the police, the so-called "Accident data base" of the Ministry of the Interior, and the data base of trials have been used. In addition, the documents of the preliminary investigations of the police have been utilized. According to the preliminary results, approximately one-third of all fires are arson. Most often the offenders are young, undereducated males. What is surprising is that arson is more common in some prosperous cities, where, for example, the unemployment rate is unusually low. After the information came out about the preliminary results, a strong discussion about arson started in the country. The Ministry of the Interior decided to create a new Arson Prevention Program.

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Updated 05/20/2006