Over the period 1989 to 2010, there were 123 incidents of arson-associated homicide, involving 170 unique victims and 131 offenders.
Arson homicides are rare, representing only two percent of all homicides in Australia each year. In this study, data was collected from the AIC’s National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) to build on previous research undertaken into arson-associated homicides and to provide more detailed analysis of cases and offenders.
Over the period 1989 to 2010, there were 123 incidents of arson-associated homicide, involving 170 unique victims and 131 offenders. The majority of incidents (63%) occurred in the victim’s home and more than half (57%) of all victims were male. It was found that there has been a 44 percent increase in the number of incidents in the past decade.
It is evident that a considerable proportion of the identified arson homicides involved a high degree of premeditation and planning. These homicides were commonly committed by an offender who was well known to the victim, with over half of the victims (56%) specifically targeted by the offender. This paper therefore provides a valuable insight into the nature of arson homicides and signposts areas for further investigation.