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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- People convicted of arson-related offenses in Ohio will have to register annually with local authorities under a new law in effect beginning this week.
Ohio joins the few states that require convicted arsonists to register with authorities. Officials hope it will help solve more cases, deter repeat offenses and prevent deaths and property damage.
The law applies to people convicted of such offenses in Ohio or elsewhere. It doesn't include those who already completed their sentences.
Attorney General Mike DeWine says it will help authorities investigating suspicious fires quickly determine whether convicted arsonists live nearby.
Captain Ron Wallace of the Norwood Fire Department told 9 On Your Side the registry is expected to be a valuable tool.
"It's going to give us the opportunity to zero in and look for potential suspects that reside in that area, frequent the area that we have the arson," said Captain Wallace.
Fire investigators have noted that won't prove who committed the crime, but they say it gives them a starting point.
The registry won't be public record. It will be funded by registration fees.
9 On Your Side reporter Amy Wadas contributed to this report.
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