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"1933 is proving the best arson year in our history. The amazing fact is that in about three cases out of five (or better), the crime is now committed in a residence rather than a place of business [as it was in decades past]. All over the country residential fires are 30 to 40 percent higher than the same period last year - and last year they were 50% greater than they were six years ago. Speaking at the National Board of Fire Underwriters' annual meeting recently, President C.W. Bailey reported a 'disquieting increase' in suspicious fires among home owners all over the country, observing that is is only too evident that many, hard pressed by mortgages or other debts, have been unable to resist the temptation to turn their dwellings into cash."

"For don't assume for a minute it is confined to a few large cities; it prevails from coast to coast in towns large and small; it prevails even on the farm to such an extent that excellent authorities estimate one-third of our rural fires to be incendiary. Quite recently an official of a Federal land bank expressed dismay at the frequency with which their 'demands' for overdue payments are being answered by notices of fire losses."

The article reveals that the Great Depression had created a need for at least two positions that were not in high demand previously: analytical insurance investigators and cunning, enigmatic arsonists (to say nothing of corruptible insurance adjusters).

     


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Arson on the Rise (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

Arson on the Rise (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

Arson on the Rise (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

Arson on the Rise (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

Arson on the Rise (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

Arson on the Rise (New Outlook Magazine, 1933)

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