New Ohio Bill Would Require Arsonist Registry

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A proposed state bill would require criminals charged with arson-related crimes to have their name put in a database that provides law enforcement officials with their information.

Ohio Senate Bill 70 would require anyone convicted of arson or arson-related crimes to register with their county sheriff within 10 days of being released from custody.

The convicted arsonist would then be added to the list for at least 10 years to be monitored.

State Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, said he thinks this bill is necessary because it has the potential to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce property damage.

In 2010 alone, the most recent year that we have data, we had almost 600 injuries from arsons in the State of Ohio between firefighters and private citizens, and we had 91 deaths," he said. So 91 people in one year, the most recent year, lost their lives to arson. That's not counting the almost $144 million in property damage we suffered as well as Ohioans.

Schaffer says the bill is crucial to getting this problem under control.

This is a very serious crime. It tends to be a repeat crime with the arsonists that commit them. We need to get them off the streets. If they're going to commit a second, third or whatever arson, we need to help prevent them and get them off the streets," said Schaffer.

The bill passed the Ohio Senate on April 19 and is now has to make its way through the Ohio House.

Schaffer says he hopes to get the bill to the governor's desk this summer.