According to data presented by Pew Research Center, 51% of the last 20 years of fires at houses of worship were ruled “intentional.” In contrast, 10% of non-residential fires and 5% of residential fires are believed to be arson.
Overall, all types of fire incidents at churches and other houses of worship have been declining, but the proportion that are ruled intentional has been stable. In 1996, a House Judiciary Committee report found that arson attacks disproportionately targeted black churches in the South.
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Play with the interactive data here.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Bill R — August 8, 2015
The real story here is about the dramatic decline in church arson. The rest is old news (fire as a cause of property loss is lower overall) and a misuse of simple stats (arson is a vastly different event than accidental fire and the fact that the proportion of total fire due to arson is relatively static is meaningless here).