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Australian arsonists likely to be young and male

The arsonist Australian police suspect lit one of the weekend’s deadly wildfires is likely to be a young male who could be driven by the need for excitement, recognition or to be in control, analysts said on Wednesday.

He may well be a loner and come from a poorer background, and is likely to have a record of violence. Crime statistics show he will also be hard to catch and convict.

“Lighting a fire fulfils some psychological need for them,” said bushfire crime analyst Damon Muller, from the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The worst bushfire disaster in Australian history has killed at least 181 people in the southern Victoria state, destroying small towns and leaving 5,000 people homeless. [ID:nSP409302] Up to half of the bushfires in Australia each year are started deliberately, with a cost to the community of about A$1.6 billion ($1 billion) a year, research by Australia’s Institute of Criminology has found.

Many firebugs come from the area where the fire is set, said University of South Australia psychologist Robert Heath, with some even joining efforts to douse the flames.

complete article @ Reuters

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