The burning question: Did the GFC increase vehicle arson?

R. Kelly*, J. ClareMurdoch University in Perth, Western Australia

*corresponding author: han-k.91@hotmail.com

 

Opportunity theories of crime suggest that crime occurs in specific spatio-temporal patterns due to an increase in opportunity and a decrease in risk. Financially-motivated crimes have been demonstrated to be influenced by global market prices. To extend this idea, this research is examining whether economic crises have influenced the costs/benefits associated with crimes such as insurance fraud committed with the intention of escaping debt. From 1997-2003, vehicle fires in Surrey, BC, Canada were occurring at a rate more than double the national average and many of these were transpiring under suspicious circumstances. Using an opportunity theory framework, this study aims to examine the spatio-temporal patterns of vehicle arson and discover how it was effected by the global-financial crisis (GFC). The data for this study were obtained from Surrey Fire Services and contain information on all fires that involved a vehicle in Surrey from 2000-2015. As the data did not differentiate between arson and non-arson fires the data was spatially and temporally mapped and using opportunity theories the resulting patterns were separated into suspected arson and non-arson clusters. The variations in the vehicle arson data were examined over the study period along with vehicle theft data, economic variables and the non-arson data. Relative to the unsuspicious vehicle fires, vehicle arson was significantly more likely to occur at night in areas with little surveillance. Results indicate that vehicle arson shared a significant negative correlation with the economy. Vehicle arson significantly increased following the GFC whilst non-arson vehicle fires remained stable throughout the study period thus supporting an opportunity theory of crime. Results are discussed with relation to situational crime prevention policy and practice

ABOUT ANZSOC

The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2018 Conference Design Pty Ltd