What’s the difference between arson and vandalism?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 20, 2020 04:30 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Jan 20, 2020 04:30 PM

Arson is the intentional, criminal setting of a fire, whether as a single act or as part of the commission of another crime or crimes.

Vandalism describes acts that destroy or deface private or public property and is also called property crime. Examples of vandalism would be breaking out the windows of a parked car; Halloween pranks like egging houses; destroying shrubbery or landscaping; painting graffiti; or anything you can imagine that results in someone else’s property being damaged or even altered without their permission. If they also set a fire while they were doing the property damage, that would be a separate charge of arson.

A person cannot be charged with vandalism for destroying their own property, but they can be charged with arson for deliberately setting it on fire. This is probably because fire, unlike other ways of inflicting damage on something, is almost impossible to confine or control once it is set, and so a deliberately set fire is almost always considered arson regardless of whether the property set on fire belongs to the arsonist, in recognition of its high potential for causing additional damage and also because most people who set their own property on fire are doing so as part of another criminal undertaking, like insurance fraud.

A fire which is set accidentally is not arson: arson is a deliberate act, as is vandalism. The essence of both of these crimes is the willful destruction of property, one by fire, the other by just about anything else you can imagine. Also, the setting on fire of a dead body is usually also called arson, although inflicting other type damage on a body is usually called abuse of a corpse or something similar, not vandalism.

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