More than Arson
“Arson is the nation’s fastest-growing crime,” the “Newsweek” of January 8, 1979, reports. “According to the National Fire Prevention Association, losses in arson-caused fires jumped from $74 million in 1965 to $634 million a decade later—and they have tripled since then. In 1977, arson killed 700 people and caused an estimated $1.6 billion in property damage plus millions in hidden damages from lost jobs and destruction of the tax base.”
The motive is collecting insurance, and behind it is organized crime. They deliver the complete package—hiring the “torch” and often buying off the insurance adjusters. So, many individuals, property owners, turn to arson for easy money. Some claim the insurance companies don’t care about the fires. More fires increase the demand for insurance and make the rates rise. If the insurance company refuses to honor a claim it can be sued, and defense in court costs money. Unless the claim is big, the companies find it cheaper to pay the claim. The people ultimately pay all the bills. The insurance company prospers. The businessman paying for the insurance passes his costs on to customers.
But who pays for the murders that are by-products of arson?