Arson in Australia

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Ferguson, C., & Kreeger, J. (2009). Arson in Australia. In W. Petherick & C. Ferguson (Eds.), Crime and deviance (pp. 383-408). Alaska, United States: Forensic Press LLC.

2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1602

© Copyright 2009, Forensic Press, LLC. All rights reserved.




Due to its unique climate, Australia is one of the most fire-prone countries in the world. In Victoria, it is common to see bush fires from November through April, when the temperature is high and the land and vegetation is dry (Willis, 2004). According to Cheney (1995) Australia's geography and topography means that almost all the vegetation in the country is fire prone ... The goal of this chapter is to discuss the issue of arson in Australia including recent examples. While the focus for case studies is Australian, a great deal of the content can be equally applied to many other countries. To begin, a definition of what constitutes criminal arson and a more general view of arson will be discussed, followed by a brief overview of the limitations and difficulties in studying such a phenomena. The remainder of the chapter will investigate whether the prevalence of arson is increasing in Australia, or whether individuals are becoming better at recognizing and reporting it. Finally, a discussion of how much arson costs Australians will be presented along with the limitations and shortcomings of making monetary estimates on the impacts of such a complex issue.

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