We also provide an estimate of the economic costs of arson by using estimates of property damage reported by fire investigators in the NFIRS data.
To address these empirical concerns we create a panel data set of the determined cause of individual fires in the NFIRS database between 1986 and 2010.
Using NFIRS data, we conduct three main empirical exercises.
We suspect our estimate of [beta] in Equation (1) will be biased downward if detection and subsequent reporting of arson by local fire departments to NFIRS is systematically correlated with local housing market conditions.
where m and t index MSA and calendar-month as before, but i now represents an individual fire reported in the NFIRS database.
4 fires were reported per 1 million MSA residents in the NFIRS database each month between 1986 and 2010, of which 6.
There were 59,745 and 85,944 unique MSA-by-month observations in the UCR and NFIRS data, respectively, which is the unit of observation for the analysis.
We report coefficients in the third and fourth columns of Table 2 from re-estimating Equation (1) using instead monthly arson offenses reported in the NFIRS database.
While arson estimates obtained using the NFIRS data were shown to have less reporting bias than using UCR data, such estimates may still be downward biased if either decreases in local house prices resulted in fewer resources to investigate potential arson offenses, or more individuals are successful in disguising their intentional behavior as accidental when house prices decrease.
NFIRS estimates of deaths associated with residential fires for children aged [less than]5 years were based on 279 deaths, and for adults aged [less than]70 years, 368 deaths.
Based on NFIRS data for January-December 1990, the causes of the fires were known for 522 (72%) deaths of children aged [less than]5 years; the three leading causes were 1) children playing with fire-ignition sources (e.
Data from the 1990 NFIRS were used to estimate the numbers of fires and deaths associated with selected causes of residential fires during January, February, March, and December (2).