, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 169-184

Arson for revenge: The role of environmental situation, age, sex, and race

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Research on arson and its many motivations continues to be absent from the criminological literature. Although some authorities cite revenge or retaliation as the primary motive for arson in certain areas of our central cities, revenge arson has not been systematically addressed. The research presented here explores whether demographic variables (age, race, and sex) along with the environmental character of the offender's place of residence adequately determine the likelihood that offenders will commit arson for revenge. The analysis not only indicates that important age and racial differences affect the likelihood that individuals will use fire as a weapon of retaliation but also reveals that the environmental situation or character of the offender's place of residence appears to condition the relationship of both age and race with retaliation.