Year-old Ohio arson registry lists 221 offenders

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officials say 221 names were listed during the first year of Ohio's registry for people convicted of arson-related offenses.

When Ohio joined the few states that require such offenders to register with authorities, officials hoped it would help solve more cases, deter repeat offenses and prevent deaths and property damage.

The usefulness of the registry created last July is difficult to evaluate. The Ohio Attorney General's Office runs software that houses the database, but a spokeswoman says the agency doesn't track how often the registry is accessed or whether it has helped identify suspects in new cases.

Fire investigators have noted that won't prove who committed a crime but say it gives them a starting point.

The registry isn't public record. It's funded by registration fees paid by the offenders.

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