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CLIPBOARD : Residential Arson

October 27, 1990

Residential arson cases increased 5% during the first five months of the year in Orange County. The January through May total, the most recent information available, was 82--up from 78 during the same period last year. The entire increase occurred in multifamily dwellings--30 this year compared to 26 in 1989. There were 52 instances of single-family home arson in both years. 1990: 82 1989: 78 CLEARANCES

Law enforcement officials are having more success in determining who they think is responsible for these home fires. This year 28% of the crimes were "cleared" compared to 13% during the January-May period last year. According to the state attorney general's office, an offense is "cleared" (or solved) for reporting purposes when someone is arrested, charged with the crime and turned over for prosecution (or in the case of minors, referred to juvenile authorities). 1990: 28% 1989: 13% COST

The cost of residential arson, as might be expected, has also increased this year--17% above the 1989 figure to almost $2 million. The difference by type of housing is dramatic, however. While the property damage value from single-family home arsons increased 56%, the same total for multifamily residences dropped 36%.

1990: $11,823,986 1989: $1,563,575 Source: California Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal Statistics and Special Services

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