Looking for pyromania: characteristics of a consecutive sample of Finnish male criminals with histories of recidivist fire-setting between 1973 and 1993.
BACKGROUND: As pyromania is a rare diagnosis with questionable validity, we aimed to describe a forensic psychiatric population of arson recidivists. METHODS: The medical records as well as the forensic psychiatric examination statements of 90 arson recidivists referred for pretrial psychiatric assessment in Helsinki University Hospital Department of Forensic Psychiatry between 1973 and 1993 were reviewed. RESULTS: The most important diagnostic categories of arson recidivists were personality disorders, psychosis and mental retardation, often with comorbid alcoholism. In all, 68% of arsonists were under alcohol intoxication during the index crime. Psychotic as well as mentally retarded persons with repeated fire-setting behaviour were mostly "pure arsonists"--persons guilty only of arsons during their criminal careers. Arson recidivists with personality disorder, in contrast, often exhibited various types of criminal behaviour and arson appeared to be only one expression of a wide range of criminal activity. Comorbid alcoholism was apparently a more rarely observed phenomenon among pure arsonists than in "nonpure arsonists". We found only three subjects fulfilling the present diagnostic criteria for pyromania. CONCLUSION: Using the criteria of the DSM-IV-TR, pyromania must be regarded as an extremely rare phenomenon. Especially the question of substance intoxication as an exclusion criterion for pyromania should be reconsidered. (+info)
Alcohol outlets, gonorrhea, and the Los Angeles civil unrest: a longitudinal analysis.
This study tests the effect of neighborhood changes on gonorrhea rates. Prior studies that indicate gonorrhea rates are associated with alcohol outlet density and neighborhood deterioration have been cross-sectional and cannot establish causality. After the 1992 Civil Unrest in Los Angeles, 270 alcohol outlets surrendered their licenses due to arson and vandalism thus providing a natural experiment. We geocoded all reported gonorrhea cases from 1988 to 1996 in LA County, all annually licensed alcohol outlets, and all properties damaged as a result of the civil unrest. We ran individual growth models to examine the independent effects of changes in alcohol outlets and damaged buildings on gonorrhea. The individual growth model explained over 90% of the residual variance in census tract gonorrhea rates. After the civil unrest, a unit decrease in the number of alcohol outlets per mile of roadway was associated with 21 fewer gonorrhea cases per 100,000 (p<.01) in tracts affected by the Unrest compared to those not affected. Neighborhood alcohol outlets appear to be significantly associated with changes in gonorrhea rates. The findings suggest that efforts to control sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and HIV, should address contextual factors that facilitate high-risk behaviors and disease transmission. (+info)
Is arson the crime most strongly associated with psychosis?--A national case-control study of arson risk in schizophrenia and other psychoses.
From stack-firing to pyromania: medico-legal concepts of insane arson in British, US and European contexts, c. 1800-1913. Part 2 .
The second part of this paper explores deepening doubts about pyromania as a special insanity, British debates post-1890, and pyromania's supplanting with the broader diagnostic category of insane incendiarism. It assesses the conceptual importance of revenge and morbid-motivations for arson, and the relationship of Victorian and Edwardian concepts of arson to more modern psychiatric research.The main objective is to ascertain the extent to which Victorian and Edwardian medico-psychologists and medical legists arrived at meaningful and workable definitions of criminal insanity linked to arson. It concludes by emphasizing the limitations, contentiousness and inconsistencies in the use of technical terms such as'pyromania', contrasted with the qualified success of authorities in arriving at more viable and broadly acceptable explanations of insane firesetting. (+info)
An uncommon case of random fire-setting behavior associated with Todd paralysis: a case report.
Public health impact of the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest.
The Los Angeles civil unrest in April 1992 stunned the nation. The days of violence resulted in 53 deaths, 2,325 reported injuries, more than 600 buildings completely destroyed by fire, and approximately $735 million in total damages. The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the activities of the Public Health Programs and Services Branch of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services during and after the civil unrest and to illustrate the types of public health issues and problems that may result from large-scale civil disturbance. Public health agencies and jurisdictions should consider these issues in their disaster planning. Public Health Programs and Services Branch activities were directly affected by the violence and destruction. Women, Infants and Children Program vouchering sites and 20 drug program and alcohol recovery sites were damaged or burned and 15 county health centers closed during the unrest. At least 38 private medical and dental offices and 45 pharmacies were destroyed or damaged. County health authorities offered facilities to house relocated private care providers and filled prescriptions for medications where needed. The environmental health impact required the inspection of 2,827 burned and damaged sites for hazardous waste including asbestos; at 9 percent of the inspected sites, waste required special disposal. More than 1,000 food facilities suffered damage and required inspection before reopening. In the 3 months following the unrest, a 20-percent increase in disposal capacity was authorized at four county landfills to accommodate the disposal of debris. Violence was a public health issue of particular concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a team to study the violence from an epidemiologic perspective. The Federal agency also provided funding for televised children's talk shows dealing with reactions to the violence. (+info)