Volume 40, Issue 6 (November 1995)
Arson Trend Increasing—A Real Challenge to Psychiatry
This research evaluated the arson trend in Finland since the 1960s by analyzing the Official Crime Statistics of Finland registered by the police and examined more detailed about arsonists (n = 98), who had been in the forensic psychiatric pretrial examination by using homicide offenders (n = 55) as control subjects. From 1965 to 1991 the percentage of arson in relation to all crimes increased fivefold and in the same timeframe the amount of arson increased nearly tenfold. According to the police in Finland there are committed over 700 arsons every year, of which 90% are committed by men. The percentage of women has however increased 0.2% yearly. Women today commit about 10% and juveniles 10 to 15% of all arsons. The arsonists differed from the homicide offenders regarding rural residence (P = 0.009), poor education (P = 0.004), absence of regular work at the time of the crime (P = 0.004), suicidality (P = 0.001), alcohol problems (P = 0.002), psychiatric care (P = 0.000,02) and arsonists more commonly found to be not responsible for the crime committed (P = 0.01).