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Ashes to ashes: When house prices drop, arson rates go up

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Data suggest arson rates rise when house prices drop.

Ross Compton Jr.’s luck was about to turn from bad to worse.

The 59-year-old heart man with a heart condition had seen his law license suspended, lost his home, and liquidated assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy before moving into his mother’s former residence. And then the Middletown, Ohio, dwelling erupted in flames, lighting the sky over a tree-lined cul de sac on the night of Sept. 19, 2016.

Compton told police he’d packed some belongings, called 911 to alert authorities, and climbed out his bedroom window. But doubts surfaced almost immediately.

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