(Columbus) - 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.

"It's not going to solve every case, but it is a tool and we think it will be helpful," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The law applies to people convicted of aggravated arson, arson, or arson-related crimes in Ohio or elsewhere. It doesn't include those who already completed their sentences.

"Unless the judge says otherwise you have to register for the rest of your life," DeWine said.

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.

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