Name File Type Size Last Modified application/zip 151.1 MB 01/20/2019 12:26:PM application/zip 66.8 MB 01/20/2019 12:16:PM application/zip 17.2 MB 01/20/2019 12:10:PM application/zip 12.4 MB 01/20/2019 12:18:PM

Project Citation: 

Kaplan, Jacob. Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program Data: Arson 1979-2017. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-01-20.

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Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary
Version 4 release notes:
  • Adds 1979-2000, 2006, and 2017 data
  • Adds agencies that reported 0 months.
  • Adds monthly data.
  • All data now from FBI, not NACJD. See here for the R code I used to read in the files and clean data, and the setup files made to read them in.
  • Changes some column names so all columns are <=32 characters to be usable in Stata.
Version 3 release notes:
  • Add data for 2016.
  • Order rows by year (descending) and ORI.
  • Removed data from Chattahoochee Hills (ORI = "GA06059") from 2016 data. In 2016, that agency reported about 28 times as many vehicle arsons as their population (Total mobile arsons = 77762, population = 2754.
Version 2 release notes:
  • Fix bug where Philadelphia Police Department had incorrect FIPS county code.
This Arson data set is an FBI data set that is part of the annual Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program data. This data contains information about arsons reported in the United States. The information is the number of arsons reported, to have actually occurred, to not have occurred ("unfounded"), cleared by arrest of at least one arsoning, cleared by arrest where all offenders are under the age of 18, and the cost of the arson. This is done for a number of different arson location categories such as community building, residence, vehicle, and industrial/manufacturing structure.

The yearly data sets here combine data from the years 1979-2017 into a single file for each group of crimes. Each monthly file is only a single year as my laptop can't handle combining all the years together. These files are quite large and may take some time to load. I also added state, county, and place FIPS code from the LEAIC (crosswalk).

All the data was is from the FBI and read into R using the package asciiSetupReader. All work to clean the data and save it in various file formats was also done in R. For the R code used to clean this data, see here.

A rare number of agencies had some months with clearly incorrect data. I changed the incorrect columns to NA and left the other columns unchanged for that agency. The following are data problems that I fixed - there are still likely issues remaining in the data so make sure to check yourself before running analyses. 
  • Oneida, New York (ORI  = NY03200) had multiple years that reported single arsons costing over $700 million. I deleted this agency from all years of data.
  • In January 1989 Union, North Carolina (ORI = NC09000) reported 30,000 arsons in uninhabited single occupancy buildings and none any other months.
  • In December 1991 Gadsden, Florida (ORI = FL02000) reported that a single arson at a community/public building caused $99,999,999 in damages (the maximum possible).
  • In April 2017 St. Paul, Minnesota (ORI = MN06209) reported 73,400 arsons in uninhabited storage buildings and 10,000 arsons in uninhabited community/public buildings and one or fewer every other month.

When an arson is determined to be unfounded the estimated damage from that arson is added as negative to zero out the previously reported estimated damages. This occasionally leads to some agencies have negative values for arson damages. You should be cautious when using the estimated damage columns as some values are quite large. Negative values in other columns are also due to adjustments (zeroing out the error) from month to month. Negative values are not meant to be NA in this data set.

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms arson; Uniform Crime Reports; crime; arrests; crime rates; law enforcement; fire
Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage United States
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 1979 – 2017


Unit(s) of Observation:  View help for Unit(s) of Observation Agency-month, agency-year
Geographic Unit:  View help for Geographic Unit Police agency

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