Under arson is defined as the intentional or negligent and unauthorized setting fire to a non- specific subject material. For 2011, identified the Institute of Loss prevention and research of public insurers eV that 8 % of all fires in Germany caused by arson.

  • 2.1 Nomenclature of arson offenses
  • 2.2 Trivia

Motives and causal relationships for arson

Criminal activity

The majority of the enlightened arson is insurance fraud and covering up other crimes (such as burglary, embezzlement ). However, about 51 % of arson remain unsolved.


Among allows all cases summarized in which the behavior of arsonists deviates from the usual standards of human coexistence, sometimes even morbid trains has ( revenge, morbid jealousy, hatred, morbid jealousy, pyromania, craving, vandalism ). There is often a close relationship of the perpetrator to the owner or owners of damaged property.

Politically motivated violence

Among the arson cases are classified, in which the offender to put pressure on the public tries to achieve a change in the existing conditions in the broadest sense. It may be political, social, ethnic or even religious motives act ( economic sabotage, propaganda, labor disputes, intimidation, blackmail, terror ). In the case of politically motivated violence we also speak of an arson attack.

Arson by children

Arson by children can not fit into the categories described. It outweigh curiosity, adventure, childlike joy of flickering and crackling of the fire or even an innate pyromania, which can occur even in very young children age.

Arson by firefighters

With these issues, there was a research project at the Department of Criminology, Criminal Policy and Police Science at the Law Faculty of the Ruhr - University Bochum. The report on this project, the author Frank D. Stolt assumed that it was an absolute figures ever increasing problem causing damage in economically relevant size and had become by the mass media coverage almost a daily phenomenon.

In the arson by firefighters Stolt estimates the number of arsonists in the volunteer fire to about 3,000. With 1.3 million members in Germany, volunteer fire departments, the proportion incendiary firemen would be equivalent to 2.3 per thousand. According to the German Association of the fire service communications only about 0.3 per thousand of all arsons on firefighters are traceable.

Usually arson by firefighters are not politically motivated acts of violence. Rather, the motives are in the realm of the psyche. Both the achievement of a kick in operations and urge sensation and the " desire for social recognition " can be triggers for such arsons. As with general arson, there are also the mass of arsonists among the male population to 25 years.

Arson under German law

The arson is the section of homicidal crimes. Act constituting the offense is the willful or negligent setting fire or arson by completely or partially destroying a thing.

§ 306 StGB ( simple arson ) can thus be understood as a qualified offense of criminal damage ( event Merkmales "foreign" ). For the other offenses (§ § 306a -f CC) results in the criminalization of the threat to the general public.

Lying in arson psychological causes before (eg, pyromania ), the court is always the application of § 20 of the Criminal Code ( debt disability due to mental disorders) and § 21 of the Criminal Code ( diminished responsibility ) to consider.

Nomenclature of arson offenses


In the case of insurance fraud is also called colloquially often from a hot demolition or renovation of a warm, reflecting the fact that the offender, in this case the house owner, for example, wants at the expense of insurance to get rid of an old building. Sometimes perpetrators try using the " hot interruption" so to circumvent provisions of preservation, which often preclude a building demolition.

Pictures of Arson