Over 40,000 arsons were reported in the 2014 Uniform Crime Report; however, this number is underestimated since there are no official arson trends reported by the FBI due to the lack of agencies reporting this offense. Arson is one of the most destructive and under researched crimes. This lack of research can be attributed to the dual definition of arson – that is, the destruction of one's own property or someone else's property – the opportunistic nature of arson, and the inability to determine a measurable rate. The current study uses data from the Chicago Police Department's Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting (CLEAR) System and the 2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates to explore arson offending among and across neighborhoods within the framework of routine activities theory and social disorganization theory. Spatially weighted negative binomial regression is used to test correlation and significance. Analyses were run in STATA and ArcGIS 10.4.1. Results are consistent with prior arson research showing that rates of occurrence are increased by structural measures such as social disorganization, physical disorder, and public transportation. However, racial heterogeneity and accessibility to public transportation are shown to both increase or decrease rates of arson occurrence depending on the subtype of arson. These results suggest that community characteristics may play a greater role in understanding arson offending than previously thought.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Applied Sociology; Domestic Violence Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
South, Rhena, "Understanding Arson Through Community Resilience" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5558.