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Arson - Clery Crimes/Hierarchy Rules


a. Arson is willful or malicious burning or the attempt to burn with or without intent to defraud a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.

There are three categories of arson:

  1. Structural - houses, townhouses, duplexes, apartments, hotels, inns, dormitories, barns, garages, warehouse stores, restaurants, offices, churches, jails, schools, monuments, buildings under construction
  2. Mobile - cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trailers, planes, boats
  3. Other - crops, timber, fences, signs, merchandise stored outside a structure


  • One offense for each distinct arson operation originating within the reporting jurisdiction is counted.
  • Count only if investigated. This is the only Clery Act offense that requires an investigation prior to including in statistics.
  • Because the Clery Act requires institutions to disclose all arsons that occur on their Clery geography, you must have every fire that is not known to be accidental (such as a cooking fire) investigated.
  • For multiple offenses, one of which is arson, report the arson and apply the Hierarchy Rule to determine the most serious offense to report.
  • Count any fire that investigation determines to meet the UCR definition of arson regardless of the value of the property damage.
  • Count incidents where an individual willfully or maliciously burns his or her own property.
  • The fire must be more than suspicious or of an unknown nature of origin.
  • An arson determination must be made by either a fire authority or by another individual experienced in arson investigation. The latter includes someone at your institution who has received training in arson investigation by a fire authority.