Crime Prevention

The department works closely with the community in organizing and maintaining strong crime prevention efforts. We have twelve Neighborhood Watch groups of varying levels of organization. They serve as the 'auxiliary' eyes and ears for the police department to ensure the safety of their neighborhoods.

We also asked that citizens go to where they can provide anonymous tips as well as view other area crime activity.

Another strong component of our crime prevention effort is the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. The focus of Crime Free Multi-Housing is to extend the Neighborhood Watch concepts to apartment complexes and other multiple- dwelling sites.

We also administer additional prevention programs, such as Operation ID.

Crime prevention must be the forefront in our communities. Crime prevention techniques and programs are the front line of defense to reduce and prevent crime.

The police, usually considered the front line of defense, are only activated when the true front line (prevention techniques and programs) were not in existence, were not implemented properly, or simply failed.

Community members, both residential and business, must take a more active role to protect themselves and their property.

This can be done by simply doing some of the following:

  1. Take time to learn how you can implement techniques in and around your home or business to reduce the chance of you, a family member, an employee or customer becoming a victim of a crime.
  2. Implement the things you learned. Remember, many crime prevention techniques work as a system: is you leave one part of the system out, it jeopardizes the whole system.
  3. Get to know your neighbors or neighboring businesses and allow them to get to know you. Join a Neighborhood Watch or Business Watch.

Getting involved and taking responsibility is the key. Community members must take responsibility for their neighborhood or business area.

The most qualified person or persons to protect a neighborhood or business area are the people living or working there. Those community members know, better than the police, what is normal, what may not be normal or what may be suspicious. Residents and business members must stop relying on the police and start working with them.

As Sir Robert Peel stated in 1829 ... "the police are the public and the public are the police. The police being only full-time individuals charged with the duties which are incumbent on all of the citizens."

If you're interested in taking responsibility in your neighborhood or business area and getting involved to do something about what matters, please contact the police department at 320-251-8186.


Three recent incidents, in which cell phones ignited fumes during fueling operations, have prompted fire safety concerns for the public at self-service gas stations. In one case, a cell phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang, igniting gas fumes, destroying the car and the gasoline pump. In the second case, a person suffered severe burns to the face when they answered a cell phone call while refueling their car. In another case, a man suffered burns to the thigh and groin, when the cell phone in his pocket, rang while he was fueling his car.

You should know that:

Cell phones can ignite gasoline fumes and should not be used in or around gasoline refueling stations. Cell phones that light up when turned on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition.

Synthetic clothing and seat covers will generate very strong static sparks and will ignite gasoline fumes during refueling operations.

Rules for Safe Refueling

  • Don't smoke. NO SMOKING or open flames are allowed within 20 feet of gas pumps.
  • Shut off the engine. Vehicle electrical wiring and exhaust catalytic converters can easily ignite gasoline fumes, especially if fuel is accidentally spilled during refueling. This includes diesel powered vehicles if gasoline is also pumped at the same island.
  • Don't use your cell phone; leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off.
  • Do not re-enter your vehicle during fueling. Sliding in and out of the car seat will re-generate static electricity that must be discharged to a metal portion of the vehicle before you return to remove the fuel nozzle.