Half of all the home fires in Detroit are caused by arson. And many of those who set fire to houses are set by desperate homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure by collecting on fire insurance payments.
Call it Detroit’s version of mortgage modification.
“As the city has been plagued with foreclosures and an unemployment rate above 28 per cent, fire officials have said that some despairing owners are risking prison to get out of debt, and vacant, foreclosed homes are being torched,” the Detroit news reports.
Arson is up 27.8 per cent since 2004, with 6,486 arsons investigated by the Detroit Fire Department’s Arson Squad last year. Arson-related insurance fraud in Detroit is up roughly 40 per cent from 2005 to 2008.
Detroit has the nation’s worst delinquency rate, at 10 per cent of all mortgages.