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Juvenile Firesetting and Arson

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1997
2 pages
After reviewing the prevalence and characteristics of juvenile firesetting and arson, this Fact Sheet describes the National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention (NJF/ACP) Program.
FBI 1995 statistics indicate that juveniles accounted for 52 percent of arson arrests. During the 1980s, the rate of juvenile arrests for arson remained constant at approximately 40 percent; however, between 1990 and 1994, the rate increased 35 percent. Juvenile fire setters can be classified into three groups: those under 7 years old who start fires accidentally or from curiosity; children 8-12, who may start fires due to psychosocial conflicts; and adolescents ages 13 to 18 who engage in criminl arson at the peak of a childhood history of firesetting. During the past decade, hundreds of jurisdictions across the Nation have established programs to addressed the increasing concern about juvenile fire wetting. These programs, which are usually initiated by the fire service, are designed to identify, evaluate, and treat the juvenile firesetter. These efforts have been facilitated by program models developed by the U.S. Fire Administration, which is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), along with the U.S. Fire Administration, funded an initiative from 1987 through 1993 known as the National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention Program. This Fact Sheet outlines the program's seven components common to effective juvenile firesetter programs, based on evaluations. Five publications developed by the program are also briefly described.

Date Published: January 1, 1997