The Commercial Appeal

Ohio launching state registry for arsonists

- Mcclatchy Newspapers

AKRON, Ohio — Under a state law that takes effect Monday, anyone convicted of an arson crime after July 1 or now incarcerat­ed for one is required to register annually with the county sheriff where they live.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will maintain a central database containing the names, addresses, photos and other personal informatio­n on fire-setters. That registry, unlike a similar database for sex offenders, will be available only to law enforcemen­t officials and not the public.

Ohio joins other states, such as California and Montana, with a statewide registry.

“It’s a good thing,” Barberton fire Capt. Richard Hardgrove said. “It will help us do our job better when we look at these fires.”

Arson is a major problem in Ohio.

The FBI reported there were 2,850 arson incidents in the state in 2010.

Convicted arsonists are required to pay a $50 registrati­on fee and a $25 annual fee after that to help maintain the statewide registry. Failure to register

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