Forensic Arson: Backward's Crime

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Arson is called the coward's crime, the most under-reported crime next to rape and the least understood. Its practitioners range from mentally unstable pyromaniacs to little children to hired professional ``torches.'' For an arsonist there are many characteristics and reasons for why they are attracted to starting fires. A few that comes up in most arson cases are, revenge. The most common motive, revenge can be directed at a very broad range of targets or a specific individual. Excitement is another one, sometimes bored teenagers looking for something to do sometimes set fires. Vandalism plays a role in which the majority of vandalism targets are schools. Profit could be a reason for arson or someone trying to commit insurance fraud is the most common objective in this category, and crime concealment criminals sometimes turn to arson to burn away evidence that could tie them to a crime. (Bartlett, 1990)
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Because flammable liquids readily evaporate, care must be taken in the collection and packaging of fire debris. Containers of arson evidence need to be air tight to prevent loss by evaporation and possible contamination. For an air tight seal most of the time a clean empty tin like paint can would work perfectly. Moisture is not a problem therefor do not dry arson evidence.
The evidence you would want to collect would be debris from the area of ignition which would more than likely be soaked with the accelerant. You would also collect any devices used for ignition like candles, matches, cloth, and fuses. Take samples of dry wall, upholstery, fabric, and even soil samples that could possibly be soaked with accelerant. After all the fire related evidence is gathered be sure to look for trace evidence that may have been left by the culprit, like hair or blood. You should also look for latent fingerprints that could also be left by the

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