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.