Los Angeles arson fires increasing amid COVID-19, data shows

  • Source: KABC-TV ABC 7 Los Angeles
  • Published: 09/14/2020 06:07 PM

While wildfires rage across the state of California, in the city of Los Angeles, there's been an increase in a different kind of fire: arson. This is according to an analysis of LAPD data by USC's data journalism organization, Crosstown. An updated analysis by ABC7 found that between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of this year, there were nearly 400 recorded arson incidents, a 43% increase from the same period in 2019 and the highest in the last five years. Crosstown's study attributed the increase to a variety of factors. One was the 16.1% increase in homelessness in the city in the past year. Nearly 14% of the arson incidents in the first eight months of 2020 involved a homeless suspect or victim. About 9% of the incidents from the same period in 2019 involved a homeless suspect or victim. Other factors the study noted included the COVID-19 safer-at-home orders that have restricted neighborhood watches and economic stress, which can sometimes cause people struggling to set fire to their property to collect insurance payments.


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